Published: 07th July 2021
Meet Kalaburagi's most 'practical' science teacher, Bandarwad Govt High School's Surekha Jagannath
Surekha Jagannath, a science teacher at a government school in Kalaburagi, is all about taking her students out of the classroom and into the practical zone. We decode this teacher's journey
You don't teach children about nature by keeping them in a classroom. You take them to it and let them take it in. That's the mantra that Surekha Jagannath, a government school teacher from Bandarwad in the Kalaburagi district firmly believes in. "I am not only a teacher but also a facilitator who creates curiosity among students to learn and understand various concepts in science in practice," she tells us. So don't be surprised if you spot Surekha's students roaming through the fields looking for insects or monitoring different seeds to learn how they grow. That's simply how Surekha Jagannath aka Science Teacher teaches her students.
Surekha shows how our lungs and trachea work
It's almost like setting up an excursion. She explains, "Even before my students go out to the fields to explore and observe plants, I communicate with farmers and ask them what they are growing and if we can spend an hour or so to understand the anatomy of plants. Then, we take a bunch of students who are divided into groups and assigned activities that have to be done on the field." And so, a class is never just theoretical or mainstream for her kids, she adds, "This is how all my students learn parallel venation and reticulate venation. For instance, groundnuts are self-pollinated crops. But why are they self-pollinated and do they really grow below the ground by sprouting roots? The flowers grown on these plants are pollinated and attached to the roots, thus, forming the groundnuts that we consume. This is an interesting process and you must see the progress every day." So effective are these methods that her students understand the process practically rather than mugging up the concepts. "Even for Biology lessons, I bring those live organ-like models of animals and human beings to explain their functions and how they work inside our body. My students are extremely excited and happy to work with these models in our lab. They also ask questions around the subject and that's how exactly science is taught in our school," explains Surekha, who also teaches Physics and Chemistry.
In 2020, Surekha was felicitated with the Best Teacher Award by the Union Government for creating a scientific temper among many young girls. But there is an interesting story behind why Surekha, who once aspired to become a doctor, went on to become a science teacher. She recalls, "My father worked in the health department in Raichur, and so, I grew up visiting hospitals, communicating with doctors and watching patients. That's why I aspired to be a doctor. But after pursuing science in PUC 1 and 2, I wrote the Common Entrance Test and got an engineering seat. Since I wasn't interested, I did a BSc degree. I went on to pursue MSc and then BEd from Gulbarga University." Finally, she started working as a teacher in 2004. She says happily, "My father told me that though I couldn't become a doctor, I can teach science to students who aspire to become doctors." So far, Surekha has taught Science to over 2,000 students over the last 17 years.
How's that for scientific impact!