Dr. Pranav M. Joshirao – Chemistry Teacher – Mussoorie International School
Dr. Pranav M. Joshirao has been the Chemistry teacher for grades 7-12 at Mussoorie International School, a residential school for girls in Mussoorie, India, for over 1 year now. The school offers 3 curricula viz. CICSE (ICSE/ISC), CIE (IGCSE/AS & A levels) and IB DP.
The Inspiration to become a teacher
My mother used to work as a teacher. She proudly used to say that teaching is a noble profession. I was hugely influenced by her and growing up, I gradually developed a liking for teaching and was blessed to have excellent educators throughout my education. Some names that I vividly remember are – Joshi Sir (Social Sciences/Mathematics/Sciences tutor), Phadke Ma’am (Language teacher-Marathi), Gurnani Ma’am (Analytical Chemistry professor).
These teachers had a huge impact on me, not only for teaching, but the way they carried themselves, their socially responsible and virtuous behaviour were also registered at the back of my mind.
Innovations in teaching methodology
To put it simply, it was baptism by fire. My first job was as a chemistry & biology IB MYP teacher at Fairview International School, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. It was a melting pot of different cultures wherein students of different nationalities learned under one roof. It was here that I got a good platform to hone my teaching skills. I learnt how to tackle some basic problems like language barriers, cultural differences, etc. There were teachers from 7-8 different nationalities and it was a great learning experience having subordinates from so many different countries and getting to know their work ethics and work practices at close quarters.
It was a paradigm shift moment for me, wherein my teaching approach changed from a teacher centric one to a student centric one!! It was here that I realised the significance, utility and ease of use of different teaching & ICT tools which make learning an interesting and fun activity. Over the years, I have continued using these tools in my classes. Some of the tools I frequently use in a class are – Mind maps, PDCA cycle (Practical sessions/experiments), peer/self-assessments, kahoot quiz, 5W1H etc. The availability of Smart Boards in my current school also helps a lot while teaching.
Challenges faced as a teacher
This may sound bold, but in my honest opinion the current generation wants quick results and spoon-fed answers. They have access to internet and all the possible information in the world. It is such an irony that a certain book “INSTANT notes on biochemistry” has more demand than a certain “Lehninger” reference book!!!
On the contrary, developing interest towards STEM subjects needs a lot of patience and perseverance to get answers to one’s queries. Now, in such scenario it becomes pertinent for a teacher to induce these learning attributes in kids. Although it is a daunting task, proper planning coupled with passionate teaching will help remove this fear towards STEM subjects.
I try to find new ways to ensure I overcome the common challenges that I am sure every teacher reader here will identify with like – attention span of small kids (grade 7-8), disinterest towards Sciences (just try to make it more interactive, activity based and relatable to daily activities) to name a few.
It hurts when the student asks “Is this particular topic important w.r.t its weightage in the exam paper? If yes, then I will study it, otherwise just leave it Sir!!” Curriculum being too exam oriented suppresses the reasoning capacity of a child. It does not nurture the innovative, creative thinking ability of the child.
Also, it is a wrong notion among the board authorities that revising syllabus means including the topics in earlier years. The things I learnt during my Bachelor’s degree are a part of grade 12 syllabus now. But this early inclusion does not have any use as the students are only overburdened with additional syllabus. The real revision of syllabus, according to me, is the inclusion of introductory chapters about new topics and fields of study which are trending in the scientific research community.
Impact of Coaching Centres
They are just catering to the increasing demand courtesy the ever increasing competition levels. To say that they are redefining the education system would be wrong. Whether a student gains knowledge from attending these centres is a debatable question. Learning in coaching centres is a quantitative approach and it may not necessarily bring about a qualitative difference in the understanding of the students towards a particular subject. Moreover, students attending these coaching centres are under immense stress, have additional homework/assignments to complete, and as a consequence they tend to ignore their health as well.
So to conclude, coaching centres are far from redefining the education system in India. Instead, they are having a detrimental effect on the well-being of the young students.
Mussoorie International School, Srinagar Estate
Polo Ground,Mussoorie – 248179, Uttarakhand, India
Website: http://www.misindia.net/ Phone number: +91 135 2631160