Shubhangi Pandey – ICT Facilitator Pathfinder Global School, Pataudi, Gurugram
An MCA graduate who took up the role of an educationist by choice!
Meet Mrs. Shubhangi Pandey, ICT Facilitator at Pathfinder Global School.
With an MCA degree, why did you choose teaching over IT?
Ever since my school days, I used to work with the children in my neighbourhood. I used to teach them dance and performing arts.
I am very interactive with the children and I coordinate well with them. I realized that I could explain things to them and felt very much at home with them. I recognized my teaching and explaining capabilities and felt I would do well in this career.
Also, getting into the IT industry has a lot of timing constraints. My family is not very much in favour of me working late hours. That is an add-on factor. The main reason for me to become a teacher was because I was inclined to it.
Furthermore, in the education sector, your profile is not limited to just teaching. There are lot of interactions with students that is required and that is what captivates me the most about this role.
What keeps you motivated ?
In schools, whenever I get good, informative and educative feedback from my students it motivates me to do good work even more.
When you see the children taking interest in your subject, you get motivated. Last year, I switched to a new school in a new state. Not all children have access to computers at their homes and because of that a child’s computer knowledge falls short at certain points. Despite that when you see children taking interest in your subject and giving the right answers, it pumps you up to do better each day.
Right from grade 1, I would notice about 3-4 children who were not very interested in the subject in the beginning. But, in 2-3 months they started responding enthusiastically. It is great to see their happiness when they see me and their enthusiasm when they are taken to the computer lab etc. It is a great feeling. I see this phenomenon repeatedly with children in every batch I teach. I like the fact that children remember me even though I may not be teaching them currently.
Which classes do you teach?
Although I was offered to take classes for senior batches as well, I preferred taking classes for Class 1-5.
I feel Class 1 to 5 is the initial formative age and that is the reason why I like teaching children of that age. Students who pass out from grade 5 go to a different wing for classes 6 onwards, at the school. But still they take the effort of meeting me once in a while and letting me know of what all they are doing currently. There are some students who keep expressing that they want me to be taking classes for them. These things are highly motivational.
How long have you been teaching in this school?
It has been 1 and a half years now at Pathfinder Global School now. In 2018, I had to relocate and so had to change the school. I was previously at Presidium School.
Do you think the computer science curriculum suggested by the CBSE Board is good or do you feel a revamp is advisable?
The curriculum is fine.It is the teaching techniques that need to be revamped. Classes should be more interactive and more application based rather than theory-based. Students should get hands-on experience with computers. Project-based learning is very relevant and important for Computers as a subject.
Does the school have computer lab facilities?
Yes, we do have computer lab facilities and each student gets a separate system to work on. We ask them to do their work on their own. We give them options and ask them to choose the option that best interests them.
With more practice, the curriculum can be implemented better. Whatever you teach theoretically gets registered only with practical knowledge. Without practical knowledge or hands-on experience, teaching computers becomes quite irrelevant. Children cannot implement what they learned.
What is your opinion about the different curriculum?
CBSE is more about evaluation – giving marks, etc.
IB is more about interactivity and it involves taking inputs from the students on how they want to learn and showcase their knowledge. IB prompts a lot of student-teacher collaboration.
In CBSE you deliver the knowledge, whereas in IB you take inputs from the students and then you impart knowledge. By interacting with the students you get to know at what level the students are and then you give them information.
In CBSE, the level of the student is not given much importance. IB caters to improve the children’s thinking and analytical skills.
Do you teach coding as well?
In class 1-5, there is hardly any coding. It is just the tip of the iceberg – an introduction. In Grade 1 we introduce them to computers and how to use it; we give them hands on experience on MS Office, etc.
How do you prepare your students to solve real-time issues?
As I told you, each student gets a separate system to work on. For example, if there is an internet problem, children will tell me that nothing is working. At that point, I tell them how to check for Wifi connectivity etc. Therefore, initial information is already given to them.
What are your views on more students wanting to start a career in computer science today?
Computers are there in every field. A person has to learn computers, not just students – everyone. Everyone has to learn it at some point in time. So, computer knowledge is very important and pursuing a career in computers depends purely on the interest of the child.
I, for instance, was more into Oracle. SQL Query Language was what interested me the most. These languages were the driving factors for me to do BCA. Hence, pursuing one’s career is based on the personal interest and choice.
How do you deal with children who have this fear for Math and Computers?
I was never interested in Math as a child. After Grade 12, I had 2 teachers who made me do well in Computers. They encouraged me in grade 12 a lot and that is how my interest in computers soared.
How do you encourage students?
The key is to motivate students and make them realise that it is no rocket science. Start from the basics and start with small things. When they take interest in small things, I think, it contributes towards achieving higher goals. This is true for any subject. It is always the basics that matter. Start small and build upwards.
How do you make your class interesting ?
I go the interactive way. I deal with different sections from grade 1-5. I have a total of 9 sections and there are approximately 25-30 students in each section.
My motive is to keep the class interactive. I take inputs from the students first; that way I know what level they are at and then I start my teaching. Instead of giving answers, I take their inputs on a given topic and then I start my session. In between the session, I look for opportunities to relate the subject to real-life scenarios.
For example, the input-output process in computers. In real life there are many things connected to the input-output process. So, I start by taking inputs from them to arrive atreal-life instances of inputs and outputs. This promotes concept-clarity and a lifetime learning for the students.
How do you see the future for Computer Science education?
I think the future of Computer Science education is very bright. Computers are there everywhere and these days in India Artificial Intelligence is gaining much importance. My husband is into AI natural language processing and there are many students who are very curious to know how these machines work. Curiosity will attract more youth to pursue Computer Science.
Do you think that education, in totality, has become too commercialized?
In India, marks and results are of utmost importance. Instead of just looking at marks, one should see the interest of the students as well, in my opinion. You should interact with your students and understand the process. They should be allowed to explore and excel in the field of their choice. This way they will be doing something fruitful for themselves and all around. It is instilling positivity.
Do you think owing to management and parental pressure, teachers have little or no time to conduct classes the way they visualize?
At times, I agree with this. The need to complete the subject on time can be pressurising. But yes, these things can be planned.
I think if I plan properly I can make my classes interactive and interesting. To complete the syllabus, different techniques can be adopted. With proper planning, having interactive sessions would make topics interesting for students. That way, we can complete the syllabus and also make things interestingand builda better teaching learning process for students and teachers.
Do you agree that teachers have to multi-task?
Oh yes, teachers have to multi task!
In your opinion, do teachers get stressed out because of the multi-tasking factor or can it be balanced out?
I would say this differs from person to person. I take tasks outside of teaching, expected of me, asa refreshment. I take it as a learning that you get by doing different things. Moreover, when you need to multitask, you learn the art of being organized. In our school, we get to do different things.
What are some of the pain points you have dealt with so far in this career?
You always work with a team. It is the same in ICT as well – we have a team. It is not a one-man show. There are situations that arise when you don’t get proper support from your team. That can be frustrating. For me, apart from that it is all good.
How do you get to upgrade yourself?
There are workshops I attend. Now that we are changing to the IB curriculum, workshops are extremely important. Teaching methodologies of both these curriculum are poles apart. So, workshops are being done quite a lot nowadays. We have people who were into IB and have joined us. They are the ones conducting these workshops.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Honestly speaking, I am happy. There are places where people do not have much interest because they lack accessibility to computers and teaching facilities. I want to get into spaces like that and render services as a teacher. I think that is giving them a fair chance.
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