Published: 23rd June 2021
This Warangal teacher is bagging awards and laurels for teaching English in new and improved ways
It all began with initiating English Language Labs in classrooms, but Dr Shankara Bhakula Satyam couldn't stop with just that now, could he? This is what he has been up to lately. You'll be surprised
As a student, whenever the teacher was MIA, Shankara Bhakula Satyam was called upon to keep his juniors engaged. So naturally, he grew up to be a teacher himself. "My hardworking father, who had no education but was a dedicated goldsmith, was my first teacher. The most important lesson he taught me was to take success and failure in the same vein," says the teacher earnestly. Even with over a decade of experience in private schools, this Warangal-based educator sought a job in a government school and in 1998, his dream came true. Now, this 54-year-old is a School Assistant (English) at Zilla Parishad Secondary School in Mondrai in Warangal Rural district of Telangana.
What Dr Satyam is best known for is converting classrooms into English Language Labs, but more recently, he has accomplished another feat. If one attempts to gather students from class VII to X in one large hall after classes (4 to 4:45 pm) and tries to engage them in activities, what do you get? Pure and utter madness! But this MPhil and PhD holder doesn't just have a command over English, he has also utilised his years of experience as a teacher to apply a method to this madness and turn it into an hour of productivity. Group discussions, essay writing, quiz, presentations and whatnot, these interactive activities would keep children on their toes while keeping the end-of-the-day blues away. From July 2019 to February 2020, over 90 classes held twice or thrice a week helped work its magic. So much so that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) sent their state officials to assess this initiative.
The teacher with Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy
"The officials deemed it a success story and were very happy with the responses of the students they interacted with. In fact, teachers from other schools also visited this class and those from other states called me to ask about it," informs the teacher. For this, he received the NCERT National Innovation Award from Sabitha Indra Reddy, the current Minister of Education, Government of Telangana, last year. Recalling his own days as a student, he says, "I hail from a remote area and as a learner, had no specific teacher for English. That's why I wanted to do more for this subject."
In the year 2019 he received the Innovation Award by the School of Education, Osmania University and Telangana State Innovation Cell
This State Best Teacher Award (2020) winner is best known for starting English Labs in two schools — Zilla Parishad High School, Penugonda, in 2011, and at his current school more recently. The walls are his canvas, he uses them to display bilingual charts, tables and diagrams to explain tenses, adjectives, parts of speech and to unfold the mysteries of the language. "These serve as an open book for English grammar that can be referred to at any point in time," explains Dr Satyam who was born in Chandrugonda.
Topics like tables for pronouns, communication contractions, kinds of sentences and helping verbs have found their way to the walls of his classroom. He and the school go Dutch when it comes to paying the painter, which cost Rs 15,000 this time. "Once, I shared a picture of these tables with a postgraduate student and it helped him a lot as well," he says proudly and additionally wonders out loud, "Why do teachers make English grammar so difficult, I don't understand. If one breaks it down easily, it's easier to teach than prose or poetry."
He has received several national and state awards. He has applied for the UNESCO-Hamdan Prize for Teacher Development, WISE Awards and a lot more
"If you want to become a teacher, you need to dedicate yourself to the profession, otherwise there is no point. There are many commercial positions out there already, teachers must be different even though they possibly have the most difficult jobs in the world,” says the teacher poignantly.
Greatest teachers ever
- Chanakya: Professor of Political Science and Economics at Takshila University, it was under his tutelage that the first Mauryan emperor Chandragupta rose to power and became an able administrator
- Dr APJ Abdul Kalam: The late Missile Man of India was a guest lecturer at IIM Shillong, Ahmedabad and Indore; an honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; taught IT at IIIT Hyderabad and more
- Anand Kumar: Best known for his Super 30 programme started in Patna, Kumar is a Mathematic who coaches underprivileged students for exams like JEE - Advanced
For more on him reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org