“Our evaluation system instills the fear of failure, affecting us not only in school, but throughout every sphere of life. In education, self-evaluation should be emphasized so that one can know about their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.” – Jyoti Rani, India

For the past seven years, Jyoti Rani has devoted her life and work to the children of her city. “I have worked with children in poverty as well as with a Jaipur-based NGO,” says Rani. As a teacher fellow, academic support fellow and cluster coordinator, Rani emphasized the role of community in education, specifically how a particular community actively participates in children’s education. “I did projects on learning English as a second language, action research on development of scientific temperaments, and research on the evolution of scientific concepts with upper primary children,” says Rani.

Rani’s work as a cluster coordinator for an NGO in India – the first female to do so —  also allowed her to advocate for education for girls. “Education means Empowerment,” adds Rani.  “It is not limited to learning science and math concepts, but it is a medium through which one gets into dialogue with different minds and builds his or her own perspective critically. True education brings changes in our personality making us confident, self reflective, and independent — and it broadens our horizon.”

Today, I’m pleased to share our Daily Edventure with Jyoti Rani. Enjoy!

Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you?

One of my human resource and communication teacher, Monica Gupta, teaching during my Bachelor in Elementary Education course, inspired me the most. She was soft spoken and knew the strengths and weaknesses of each student. She was a living example for us. One could easily approach her, even regarding their personal problems. Her feedback on assignments and class observation was always constructive, beginning with positives and then coming to the gaps. She guided us on how to be self-reflective and assert our points in our life. She made me think about the true role of a teacher as a guide and a companion.

Describe the most inspiring day you’ve experienced as an educator.

While I was working as a cluster coordinator in an NGO, I saw the participation of girls in school was poor. I got the opportunity to interact with some teenage girls, and in discussions we had together, they themselves agreed that they should be educated. They were willing to attend the school in spite of their household tasks and other engagements.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

My proudest professional achievement was to work as a cluster coordinator (first female) in a Jaipur-based organization. I was handling eight schools spread over a large area, one on the top of the hill. I conducted community meetings to discuss various issues in education, and this motivated adolescent girls to come and join the group. I interacted with women so I could understand their perspective on education and child marriage, and encouraged them to be a mother teacher. One woman was selected from the village and then introduced to a pre-school teacher. The idea was to educate one woman every year by working with pre-school children.

How can other educators facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned?

I feel through education one can bring change, but if you want to change something first you have to understand students, their needs, their perspective and their obstacles. If they will trust you and believe you, they will cooperate to every extent. This trust needs to be built gradually by interacting with them, accepting them.

If you could change one thing about today’s “system” of education, what would it be?

It would be the evaluation system. Our evaluation system instills the fear of failure, affecting us not only in school, but throughout every sphere of life. In education, self-evaluation should be emphasized so that one can get to know about their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Failure should be accepted and a healthy competitive spirit should be instilled so that in life, challenges can be faced head-on without the fear of failure.

What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?

Innovation starts from the grass root. When you are working with young minds, you understand how they should be educated in the true sense. Equipping teachers with basic research skills and the ability to network with other teachers provides a platform for creating and sharing innovation in every field including pedagogy, teacher training and curriculum development.

What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?

Many think that teaching is the easiest profession, if you just transact the prescribed curriculum, but it’s not like that. As a teacher you are dealing with young minds, the future of your country. Your every statement and action will make a deep impact on their personality and future. A teacher can make a difference in each child. So kindly reflect on each interaction you have with the children.

What is your greatest hope for the future of education in your country??

That education will not be limited to people who can afford it, but it will be provided with equal opportunity to all. I hope that education will bring change, and will equip each one of us so that one can choose what is best for him or her. Socio-economic background should have no bearing on whether you are educated or not.

About Jyoti Rani

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