An Inspiration: Ishrat Ali

From academics and infrastructure to working on each child to make them grow as an individual; he has worked and contributed his best to every aspect which can lead his school and children on a new path of success.

School of Happiness

Mohammad Ishrat Ali, a Head Teacher, Primary School Rajwana, Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, needs no introduction among UP Govt School Teachers. He has a unique identity among his community as a hardworking and innovative teacher. After receiving the highest state award for teachers, now he is selected among 47 teachers from across the country, who will receive National Teacher Award-2020 on 5th September 2020.

Assembly session at Rajwana

“My aim was never to work for getting an award”, he said.  “But this award made me realize the responsibility and expectations of society from me, and will definitely encourage me to work more for my students and society”.

One thought: enlightening many

From academics and infrastructure to working on each child to make them grow as an individual; he worked and contributed his best to every aspect which can lead his school and children on a new path of success.

The respect and love he got from his students and parents can be analyzed from this incident that when in 2014, he got promoted in other school: all the parents opposed it and they said to District Collector that if he will leave this school, they will not let the school open. Administration was forced to accept the demand of students and community members.

Let’s have a look at his flourishing journey based on the four pillars of Education that is learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be.

When impossible itself says I am possible

“Life throws on us challenges to make us better, not bitter”.

This is what he followed.

Mid Day meal

When he joined this school in 2012, there was scarcity of resources and to cope up with this problem he integrated society with school. He began organsing small events in which he invited parents and with a positive approach put the problems of school in front of them. The front portion of school was open where people used to tie their domestic animals. He made the members of school management committee active and by talking to people with the help of them, he solved this problem. He connected educated unemployed youth of society with school, who raised  the fund of Rs. 2 lakhs, while motivating community members, which he used in building boundary wall and gate of the school.

Smart Class

In 2015, he won the state level Excellent School award and received the cash prize of Rupees 1 lakh 20 thousand which he used for buying projector, furniture and other necessary things for School. The benefit of integrating society with school is such that one of the famous printing press of town is providing free covers for the books to all students every year. In his school there is a free stationary corner which helps children from disadvantaged group. The interesting part is that Ishrat Ali gets 50% discount from the shopkeeper when he buy all those things.

Do watch : Unique teaching technique by using technology

ICT- one means many solutions

“From the training period itself I had learnt how to work in a limited resource”, Ishrat Ali said. In his school there were two teachers at the time of his joining and still there are two only, with 200 students and 3 rooms. It’s very difficult to engage the children. To overcome this, he took the help of technical group and started using ICT tools way before this pandemic in his school.

An awareness program for Save Daughters, Educate Daughters

His school and teachers are the first in the region to use ICT. He believes that if you do not update yourself, you will lag behind. To fill this gap he created a YouTube channel of his school, there he uploaded best content video of the teachers as well as students. While he teaches class 5th children, in standard fourth students are learning by watching the videos uploaded by him on YouTube on laptop or projector and after 30 minutes he went to class 4th and cleared all the queries of students. Thus because of scarcity of teachers no students sit idle during the school hours.

He says, “when we talk about ICT, we only look for heavy gadgets, but in my school I rely on small gadgets to make the students technology friendly. When they see computers, keyboards, drones and when they use it themselves there remains no hesitation in them and they are confident enough to use it”.

Use of laptop to know things in details

Till standard 5, he makes sure that children are well aware of these modern tools. He emphasized on mobile learning, also using apps like rad along and many more. He shares his experience that when children use these modern means for education, they feels that studying is not difficult. From 2014 they are using ICT and getting benefitted by it as well as it also helped them a lot. He was honored with state ICT award.

Learning to do

In his school pragmatic approach of teaching and learning is followed. He believes that learning should be joyful to children. Thus here children do not copy question-answers from the blackboard. To quote him, “Books are for teachers, not for students. Teachers themselves serves as a book for students. Students should be made able enough to read their teachers and in that way they learn quickly.”  Rather than studying parts of plants by drawing it on the blackboard or studying in theory why tomato turns red; they are made to visit fields and themselves witness it. Thus integrating learning with the environment and sensitizing students towards it, not limiting them to the four walls of physics classroom.

Reading practice

Learning to know

Peer learning and activity based learning are also promoted among children. A child can learn easily in the company of another children as there is no hesitation, no fear of failure and self-consciousness to be looked down. Under curative learning class he combined the students of 3rd, 4th and 5th standard and then grouped them in different category. Thus the bright students of the class helped the average one’s to elevate them in the category of bright and weaker one’s came in the category of average students. In the time span of four to five months, children improved and got promoted to next class.

 All the lessons and topics were taught to them using different activities even he made sure that children do not learn poem from books but instead remember it using activities only. Thus abolishing age old practice of rote out learning. He improved the reading and analytical skills and numeral literacy by following the concept of Dr. A.P.J.  Abdul Kalam that is watching is always better than listening and listening is always better than reading. Therefore, the first period of every class is devoted to activity based learning.

Learning to live

One of the most important measure taken by him is introducing vocational education that is work experienced based learning. He says, “In India the number of educated unemployed youth is increasing day by day. With the increasing population there is no increase in the opportunities and vacancies. The need of the hour is to create opportunities instead of looking for it.” To make children self-employable various skills are inculcated in them under his guidance such as rakhi making, gardening and decorating diyas under the campaign ‘Ek Diya Saheedon Ke Nam’, every year one day before Deepawali. Thus a customized version of vocational education is practiced whatever is the need of place concerned.

Unique tribute to our brave soldiers

Learning to be

He witnessed that children come before an hour of school and play there. Therefore understanding the importance of time and to bring leadership quality in them, he instructed and trained them in such a way that before his coming they all finish the prayer and begin the activity class. For this he created different committees of children and assigned them different responsibilities to fulfill, even if the teacher is absent. Here he used the psychological theory of positive reinforcement and reward as those who were able to do their work successfully were chosen star of the week or month according to their work.

A oath for change: Students with their parents

To make them get rid of stage fear and public speaking he made sure that they speak in Assembly. He brought newspaper and made them read it everyday in the assembly to improve their speaking skills. “School playground is the best place where you teach, preach and instruct each student of every class together and it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.”, he said.  Thus he focused on overall holistic development of children. He firmly asserts, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.”

The never ending journey

He is able to do all this because he got the support of children, parents, society, teachers and his senior officers. He dedicated this award to all of them.  He further says that “he is a teacher out of his choice not by chance” and he feels attached to these children. Though continuity in work is itself a challenge but these children keeps motivating him.

When asked what message he would like to convey to our Prime Minister and President when he will meet them, he says, I will present my TLM and request them to integrate education with vocational training so that children can be independent and self-employed. He believes in good beginning and continuing it, rather than in good ending. congratulates him on his achievements and appreciate his creative thinking and innovative thought.

Do watch our interaction with Ishrat Ali ji here

(With Puja Kumari)

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About the author: Abhishek Ranjan

Abhishek Ranjan is the Founder and Director of SarkariSchool.IN

3 comments to “An Inspiration: Ishrat Ali”

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  1. मोहम्मद इशरत अली - September 4, 2020 Reply

    Thanks to miss Puja kumari ji and abhishek ranjan ji for this memorable moments of my life.
    Sarkari school team members wonderful job done by creative teachers.

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