Dedicated For Toto Tribe: Meet Inspiring Teacher Misha Ghoshal

“If I look after these children, the Almighty will also look after my son”, She said. Today she lives on rent in both Toto Para and Madarihat.

Misha Ghoshal, the Headmistress of the Dhanapati Toto Memorial High school at Alipurduar, North Bengal, followed her heart and did not give up on her dreams.  She enlightened the tribal children of the Toto Para not just by educating them but also by fostering understanding and culturally enriching them.

She was conferred with the National Award on this Teachers Day by President Ram Nath Kovind. She was one of the 47 teachers across the nation to be given this prestigious award. Receiving it, she stated that she could not believe it and this is not just her personal success but also the Toto tribe’s, whom she brought into light. She received laurels from her colleagues, professors of University and local people. Most people complimented her saying, “You deserve it”. Ghoshal’s effort of enlightening the remote people was telecasted by the many national and international media.

From meritorious student to excellent teacher

Misha was a meritorious student securing distinction marks in Mathematics from her school education i.e. from Secondary level to Higher Secondary and onwards to the Master’s Degree. Her present qualification is MSc (Maths), B.ED. She passed in 1st Division both in Madhyamic and Higher Secondary Examination with above 80% marks in Mathematics. In the year 1997, she joined as an assistant teacher in the Basantirhat Kumudini High school in Koch Bihar, West Bengal. She worked there for nine years, teaching Science and Mathematics. She involved the students in various activities other than academics.

Later, she appeared for the School Service Commission (SSC) and then joined The Girls High school at Malda in North Bengal. She appeared for the West Bengal School Service Commission for the Headmaster post. This time, Misha joined the Dhanapati Toto Memorial High school at Madarihat, Alipurduar in West Bengal. She was placed as the Headmistress there. Without thinking about the tough path that she would have to go through; she chose the Toto Memorial High school.

Determined to bring change

As Toto Para is a remote place, there was no transportation in that area. Initially she had to traverse four rivers. In monsoon season, the condition gets worse, the place would be water logged. Even today there is only one private bus that connects Toto Para with the town. That is why Ghoshal uses Carpool to make it to the school on time.

Her dedication towards her work made her stay away from her little son during the initial days for the sake of educating the tribal children. “If I look after these children, the Almighty will also look after my son”, She said. Today she lives on rent in both Toto Para and Madarihat. People used to question her disgracefully about the school, saying that they do not consider it as a proper school, that she should have chosen some better school with good reputation.  So, she promised to herself to change the school and also people’s perspective towards the school.

Building relationships

Ghoshal says that the students of towns and cities get a lot of exposure to good education, technology and have numerous opportunities, but the tribal children are the most needy and neglected ones. That is why she made up her mind to work for them. She is a very cultural person and admires the ways of the Toto tribe.  In order to facilitate easy and student friendly way of learning, Ghoshal even adopted their language and culture, and has formed an emotional bond with them and further sings a song in Toto language.

As the people of the tribe is just handful in number, she wants to preserve the Toto language, it’s culture and properties. She invites people to visit the Toto Para as they must know about such a tribe, moreover the region is a hot-spot of resources. Due her selflessness and complete commitment to her work, she not only educated the children there but also brought a lot of recognition to the place.

Ghoshal’s contribution towards the development.

Ghoshal has laid a great contribution towards this school’s development, still she says that it still a long way to go. When she joined the school in 2008 as the Headmistress, the school lacked all the fundamental requirements, with just one student passing the matriculation examination and there were no regular classes. People disparaged the school then. Seeing this, she promised to herself, “I have to enlighten this place”. Ghoshal established a proper school building, hostel for the Toto children, developed the infrastructure, she even introduced higher secondary classes. Today the school has separate toilets for both girls and boys, two smart classrooms with laptop projector and proper water supply, open stage, it serves mid-day meal and E-learning also takes place.

As Misha herself lived a discipline life, she brought a lot of transformations to the rules and regulations of the school which included the school timing, and presently the students have regular classes. She believes in “joyful learning” and wants her students to be all-rounder. She urges her students not to confine their knowledge to books but to get involved in various productive activities. She introduced music therapy and workout sessions in the school. She even sings song saying music has the potential to therapize.

She stresses on cultural and physical activities. She took the help of the administration and the local people for the school’s land and today the school has a large area. The fifty thousand rupees cash reward that she received as an award was donated by her for the school’s development and will also be used as prize money for the students with outstanding performance every year to encourage them further.  Lately, she will be setting up a library with books worth ten thousand. These days, many students appear and clear the board examination with flying colors.

Role of teacher is very crucial

Ghoshal is of the same opinion as of President Ram Nath Kovind, “Good buildings, expensive equipment’s or facilities do not make a good school but teachers have a crucial role in building a good school. They are the ones who develop the foundation of knowledge and character building in our students”. Receiving the award was not just her ultimate moto, she knows there are more challenges to accomplish, she needs more man power, more dedicated teachers for higher secondary school students today.

We congratulate people like Misha Ghoshal who is working for the society and its future leaders. salutes the creators of India’s tomorrow, Misha Ghoshal, her efforts and dedication. Sarkari sbse Asarkari!! 

(With Srishti Bera)

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About the author: Abhishek Ranjan

Abhishek Ranjan is the Founder and Director of SarkariSchool.IN

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