Meet youngest National Teacher Awardee Sashanka Hazarika
Sasanka Hazarika serving as an assistant teacher (science) at Dahi HS School since 2014. He is the youngest teacher to receive the national award. Hazarika has been selected for this prestigious award by an independent national jury along with other 44 teachers of the country following an open online application process introduced for the first time by the Ministry Human Resource Development (HRD).
Do read excerpts of our interview
Q. First, tell us a little bit about yourself .
Life is a journey filled with lessons, hardships, heartaches, joys, celebrations, and special moments that will ultimately lead us to our destination, our purpose in life. The road will not always be smooth ,in fact throughout our travels we will encounter many challenges.
I was blessed to be born in a very loving caring family in 1978 in a small beautiful green village of Mangaldai. Under the guidance and cooperation of my parents and Teachers’ and with the help of my self confidence I accomplished my education since educatiion is our passports to the future. I had done postgraduate degree in Education & Information Technology besides I aso done the B.Ed also.
After my successful completion of education I must mention the name of the institution where I worked and who makes me what I am today. I had worked at Maligaon and Mangaldai Kendriya Vidyalaya for a period of 9 years. Also worked at SSA, Sonitpur as MIS coordinator for a period of 3 years. Presently working as Graduate Teacher Science in Dahi Higher School.
I am ambitious and driven. I thrive on challenge and constantly set goals for myself, so I have something to strive towards. I am always looking for an opportunity to do better and achieve greatness
Q. Why you chose to become a teacher? Who influenced you to become a teacher?
The most genuine reason to become a teacher is to make a difference in the lives of as many students as I can. Becoming a teacher lets us import life lessons that they will never forget and puts me in a position to influence their decisions, behavior, strengths, weakness and imaginations. Again, it is a clear career path that matches my passion. My principle and ideology and affection towards children has influenced me to become a teacher.
Q. You had briefly worked with Kendriya Vidyalaya(KV), kindly share your experience as a KV Teacher.
I worked in KV for 9 years as a computer teacher on a contractual basis. It was my golden experience. The teaching staff was very cooperative and friendly. The administration gave us full freedom to explore our knowledge and ideas. The students had been grown up with all-round development throughout the years of schooling. It gave the opportunity to them to come out with all excellence. Adequate infrastructure and I feel proud as I was a part of this wonderful disciplined community.
Q. How are you using technology to enrich your lessons? Tell us a little about your student teaching experiences. You may share some innovative teaching practices.
A great way to optimize collaboration is to use ICT, i.e. Information and Communication Technology in various forms of devices in the classroom by letting student’s use them no group work. It is a way to improve student encouragement and enrich education by utilizing ICT. It allows students to practice and improve their public speaking and presentation.
I would like to highlight some great ways to best utilize technology in the classroom to enrich learning are Video streaming, Podcast, Video conferencing, Online General Knowledge activity, Some kinds of game.
To popularize the ICT among the students and to highlight the importance of ICT in our day to day activities, the teachers try to record all the classes so that we can reuse the recorded lesson/ teaching for the dropout students and slow learners who can watch and re-watch the lesson for clarification of their doubts related to that topic/ topics . Teachers generally use these recorded classes with the help of computer/projector, Android mobiles. For the uploading of those recorded classes YouTube channel “WISSEN MANGALDAI”(Assam) provides a helping hand.
Q. During the corona crisis, many students don’t have a device, nor internet. How are you connecting with your students? What are you doing for them?
As the entire world is in a state of lockdown, the wave of turmoil, fear and anxiety has swept the entire global village. The uncertainty of what the future holds has affirmed that it will no longer be the same for all. The same unknown reorientation and change await education as well. In this chaotic scenario of the rise of the pandemic, schools have become suddenly unguarded places for young minds. In this hour of need, every educator has been looking forward to making the paramount use of different learning platforms and tools as per own picks and penchants. As a teacher, I think, it is high time to learn, grow and make a mark of our contribution to this historical change as every teacher has something distinctive which much reach the maximum students across the boundaries of the classrooms.
During this period I have been following the concept of 5 E’s mental well-being formula:-
Engagement: During this period I have participated in more than 25 National and International webinar. Again I took initiative in organising various educational discussions by quality Resources persons of different parts of India and aboard. I also participated as a Resource person in different online educational discussion of various states of our country.
Empathy: During this covid 19 period I took initiative of collection of various food items and other essential goods to distributes among the needy people of our village and its nearly places. I also contribute some financial support from my end.
Empowerment: According to me the most effective result of lockdown. It has given the opportunity to empower ourselves, students as well as other people of the society. We used to visit our students and their guardians at their residents. We tried to motivate them, encourage them and also was keeping them engaged in different educational activities. I took lead in engaging the educational unemployed of our village in different knowledge sharing and other educational activities. One brilliant student of each class is appointed as a leader to carry on the educational activities.
Enthusiasm: As an enthusiastic teacher I often spices the virtual classes and in offline sessional with students keeping social distance with excitement, enjoyment and anticipation. I used to engage them to participate during this lockdown period and stimulated them to explore. Thus we could spark the curiosity of students and jumpstart their motivation to learn.
Enjoyment: During this period we get the opportunity to spend time with our families. I enjoyed a lot with my family and could give more time to my only son. Moreover, I have prepared both online and offline study materials for students. Those who could not attend online classes, I personally met them following all the social distance norms. I used to go to remote areas of my districts with some of CRCC to aware the students as well as the guardians about online classes.
Q. What are some of the most important things you learned as a Govt School Teacher?
As a Govt school teacher I have learned that teacher working in a Govt school must be multi skilled, that is he or she should learn the students not only the scholastic part but also the extracurricular activities, moral values, communication skill, life skills etc. More than that a Govt school teacher should have the knowledge of management skills.
Q. What was the most satisfying moment throughout your Teaching Career?
Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.
― Albert Einstein
Influencing the Future. As a teacher, we are giving children the skills they need to go out into the world and succeed. A teacher should be proud of any achievement made by his or her student. They say a teacher’s reward is in heaven. But the joy, fulfilment and exhilaration you get seeing a one-time student of yours achieving great things is a reason to be proud
Q. You have received India’s best Teaching award- National Teachers Award. You met PM, HRD Ministers and some other inspiring teachers. Kindly share your conversation experience.
It was my great privilege to meet our Hon’ble prime minister Narendra Modi and got the opportunity to share my views and ideas with him. It was the most auspicious moment of my teaching career. We, the national award winner teachers were invited to a tea party at Prime Minister´s Office. There, I was fortunate to meet Mr. Prakash Javedkar, Hon’ble HRD minister of our country. We had a talk with him also. Both the PM and HRD minister discussed various issues of school education and we were blessed by our PM Modiji as he expressed his views on the teacher. He explained how noble is the teaching profession. At last, we had the honour to be in a photoshoot with our honourable PM.
Q. Name a book that you’d like to recommend to your students and Teachers. Describe the book and tell why you chose it.
Wings of fire: To succeed in life and achieve results, you must understand and master three mighty forces— desire, belief, and expectation.” Wings of Fire is more than just an ordinary autobiography.
In assamese I would like to recommend a book named “Mor ata Sapoon ase”
A Memoir Written by Dr. Rubul Mout on His Extraordinary Journey from a Remote Village of Assam to the University of Massachusetts. (USA)
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not teaching? I heard you are involved with some social service organization
I’m very glad to to mention that these achievement encouraged me a lot and benefited in my career . I have been associated with the social activist group , such as General Secretary in Council for Teacher Education Foundation, President of Pakabangipara Gaon development, Chief Advisor of Unity.. we the blood and besides these working for my native village.
Q. As some Teachers are watching our conversation, kindly give some tips- How do they can incorporate technology into their classroom. Especially in remote areas.
A teacher, working in remote areas can use their mobile phones as TLM in classroom. They can show pictures, video’s related to the curriculum. Sometimes in case of pronunciation, recitation teachers can use mobile phones as ICT.
Q. Describe the biggest challenge you’ve ever had to face as a Teacher.
The biggest challenge of teacher is to know their students well, understanding thee different learning ability and capacities of the students. It is also a big challenge to motivate and encourage them whom they underperform and have to deal with parental and peer pressure.
Q. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that teachers face today
Motivating and encouraging them when the students underperform and have to deal with parental and peer pressure. Helping parents and students meet long-term goals.
Q. Your msg for Govt School Teachers
A teacher must do SWOT analysis of students as well as themselves.
A teacher should have their own teaching strategy. Remedial teaching is a must. Students counselling is a must.