Teachers at Play: Meet Inspiring Teacher Mr Shravan Kumar

Shravan Kumar is known for popularising sports among the teaching fraternity of the government school. He has been at the helm of organizing various student and Teacher-only games within the state and also at the national level.

It’s 4 AM. The whole area, all washed in dark blue paint, all except one house, where there is a scurrying of legs, the tightening of laces, the creaking of the lonely door. Mr. Shravan gets ready. He is on his way to basketball practice, along with his daughter Muskan and other girls. Several years pass and Muskan, now an undergraduate and an experienced state and national player, remembers it all. Her father, Mr. Shravan Kumar is an inspiration for her and also for others in the community. The passion and dedication with which he promoted sports, that even brought him global recognition.

In a 22-year teaching career, Mr. Shravan has seen a lot of ups and downs. To him, It has been almost a roller-coaster journey.

“When I first joined the teaching profession at Manduadih Middle School, Varanasi, the conditions were not in favour, unlike now,” he said.

Reminiscing on his life back then, he opens up about how the dropouts were very frequent, more seen in girls around menstruation. The average parent wasn’t too involved in the child’s education and the value of sports as a medium to improve a child’s life was non-existent. But all of this gradually changed.

A love affair with sports

Mr. Shravan’s love for sports started with his schooling days in Varanasi, where he was born, he too, a part of the government school fraternity.

On asking why he values sports so much, he told, “Team Sports truly relaxes your mind while actively engaging it too. When in a game, all your focus is on one goal, to win, which helps with concentration. The children, when they return after being active, can then truly relax.”

He confirms he has seen a rise in students’ performance after increasing the role of sports in their schooling life, “They perform better, and react positively to the teachers.”

Teachers become players

Mr. Shravan is known for the amazing work he has done with teachers regarding sports. “ I feel introducing sports to teachers was good for both the students as well as the teachers. When they see the participating and having fun, they also feel inclined to play which slowly adds to their character.”

Shravan Kumar is known for popularising sports among the teaching fraternity of the government school. He has been at the helm of organizing various student and Teacher-only games within the state and also at the national level.

The first intra-district games authorized by the Jila Nideshak were organized on 10 July 2016. The event turned out to be very successful and both students and teachers participated with enthusiasm. And this sparked his imagination. Seeing the effect, he started planning for spreading this idea outside Varanasi.

 “ We had to visit many people and cold-call several for months to get them on board with the idea, convincing them to form a team, managing conveyance”. After various tribulations, a friendly match was first played between the Varanasi and Bhadohi teams.

Then an initial inter-state tournament was played between the teachers of the Banaras, Bhadohi, Jaunpur, and Chandauli districts. While it didn’t garner much attraction, it paved the way for Mr. Shravan for the authorities to give his idea a chance.

In September, authorities gave him the green signal, and the first UP Basic Teacher Games were held in the Etah district. The games were a huge success with great participation from around the state and praised by the government officials.

As someone who is never satisfied with the status quo, he was successful in organising a National Level Teacher Games in Uttarakhand in May 2019. Teachers from the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and 115 teachers from Uttar Pradesh participated. The event scored on the hearts of both the teachers and the government officials who lauded the event and declared it a huge success. He still receives various calls from teachers around the country who ask about the next event and are even ready to pay a fee to participate.

The international version of the event was also in the works around 2020 with teachers from Japan and Korea but the pandemic put a stop to that.“There is no doubt in my mind and that event will surely happen, we just need some more time.”

For his initiatives, Mr. Shravan has even been certified as an Education Leader from Roehampton University, London. He is also the state-appointed resource person for his cluster which encompasses several schools in his area. 

The active sports messaging also trickled down in his home too, his daughter Muskan is a state champion and a national-level basketball athlete. Talking about his inspiration, “Her dedication for the sport is what inspired me.” Muskan, now an undergraduate, when asked about her father’s initiatives, she had this to say,

“I’m very happy that he did all of that. I feel sports is very necessary for every individual, especially the teachers, who apart from dealing with the students, have struggles in their personal life too, which if not checked with physical activity affects their mental health.”

A Community Figure

Shravan Ji is an active figure in the community and constantly looks out for the well-being of his students. He partnered with Kiran Foundation – an NGO that works for people with disabilities, and build toilets for students with disabilities. He has also organized various ration donations in collaboration with multiple NGOs during the pandemic and not just being limited to his role as a teacher but acting as a community leader.

During the pandemic, he even took care of the students who didn’t have a smartphone, and arranged teaching over the phone, making sure even the last person wasn’t denied their education.

Mr. Shravan Kumar is known as a very supportive and encouraging teacher, his most beautiful quality being not satisfied with how things are, improving each step gradually, and this quality is the reason how his one initiative which started in Varanasi will soon attract participation globally.

“I would like to credit Mrs. Lalita Pradeep, upper Shiksha Nideshak, who helped me with the execution of the events, and Mr. Abhishek Ranjan who guided and helped me initially when I started.”

When asked for a message, Mr.Shravan Kumar added,

“I would like to say only one thing, teachers should strive to be connected with their students. As we are the bridge between them and their education, we have to keep trying and push against the situation to make sure they are not denied their future.” he said.

(With Utkarsh Nishant)

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About the author: Abhishek Ranjan

Abhishek Ranjan is the Founder and Director of SarkariSchool.IN

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