Published: 09th March 2019
Why teachers' olympiad's Bhubneshwar topper Ramakanta Biswal will always be an educator first
In the future, Biswal would like to teach at reputed institutes across the country and at some point, find his way back to research
We've heard this many a time that teachers are central to the education system in more ways than one. Understanding the importance of this statement, Ramakanta Biswal decided to become a teacher. "Students don't always receive good-quality education. So I reasoned that if I can be a good teacher, I can deliver. Also, I feel that though we have good students, they sometimes tend to lack moral values. So I wanted to make sure that we create good citizens too," says the 26-year-old teacher who teaches at Gandhi Public School, Gunupur. And why we are talking about him today? Because he is attempted CENTA's Teaching Professionals' Olympiad (TPO), a national exam for teachers, and was declared the City Topper from Bhubaneswar. So not only are teachers integral to the education system, when they get to hone their craft with exams like TPO, it serves as an encouragement for them to work on themselves and be able to teach better.
The best part for Biswal about CENTA TPO was getting the results because he received a detailed report on how he faired in different aspects of teaching like subject matter expertise, content development, classroom engagement and more
Getting back to the man of the hour, Biswal, surprisingly, was treading another path altogether - the path of research. After pursuing his MSc from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in Andhra Pradesh, he worked as a Junior Research Fellow in BITS Pilani, Hyderabad, for a year. He registered to pursue a PhD from NIT Rourkela, but due to personal reasons, had to make the switch to becoming a teacher. Yet Biswal has no regrets today, as he pours his passion into teaching with an equal amount of vigour and zest. "My father is a teacher, he is the headmaster of a government school and he has always been my inspiration. There have also been other teachers from my student days who have truly inspired me," recalls Biswal.
If you want to sleep happily every day, don't become a teacher (laughs). Because you will have to put in extra hours and do a lot more to be a good one
Ramakanta Biswal, Teacher, Gandhi Public School, Gunupur (Pic: Ramakanta Biswal)
At Gandhi Public School, Biswal teaches Biology for Classes X, XII and XIII and on the sideline, also coaches NEET aspirants. "I make sure that I stay up-to-date with all the happenings in my field and share them with my students, it makes them inquisitive and more interested in the subject," he shares. And he is a big believer of the methodology 'Learning by Doing'. Last year, he encouraged his students to come up with a model for hydroponics, wherein the whole set-up was connected to an aquarium and the excreta of fish was used as manure for the plants.
All ears: About the advent of digital technology in education, Biswal opines that it cannot replace classroom teaching, but it can supplement it | (Pic: Ramakanta Biswal)
He also prefers to keep the classroom environment light and jovial. During his class, which spans 80 minutes, he cracks jokes and picks up the tempo when he finds students slipping into a siesta. And in spite of being a teacher since 2015, he still prepares before each class and is forever in search of a simpler way to teach the same concepts. "I think the trick is to make students fall in love with you. This will automatically make them alert in your class and they actually might look forward to your classes as well," advises the teacher.