Teachers are central to the challenge of lifting education standards and over the years, many people of Indian origin have made a difference with their teaching and communications skills, with the ability to influence children in their formative years in New Zealand schools.
Mathematics is a subject that many students detest but there are teachers who take out-of-the-ordinary steps to the ‘fun element,’ enable students to get rid of the ‘fear factor’ and motivate students to excel.
Among them is Birkenhead (North Shore) College teacher Asha Kumar, who was recently a recipient of the Warehouse Stationery sponsored ‘New Zealand’s Most Inspiring Teachers 2013 Award.’
The Award recognises teachers for their distinguished services to the educational institution concerned and its students.
“Students are full of energy, excitement and new experiences. No two students are alike and experience their teen years uniquely. This makes my job exciting. I am always keen to try innovative techniques to assist in the progress of my students,” she said.
Stating that teaching and learning constituted a two-way process, Mrs Kumar said that she has learned several qualities and skills from students. Among them are unhesitatingly accepting challenges, not being judgmental, not bearing grudges, not being scared of making mistakes.
“Most important of all, students teach you how to lead to stress-free life, without worrying about tomorrow,” she said.
Mrs Kumar said that among her objectives is to encourage her students to excel in mathematics year after year and that she was happy to help them during her free hours. Allowing senior students to tutor would not only help them to acquire leadership qualities but also enable us to reach out to more students in the school.
She believes in constant monitoring of student progress and response.
“It is very important for students to get constant feedback as they learn. Knowing that they are doing well and constantly improving would give students a sense of achievement, motivating them to learn more and set higher goals and standards for themselves. Similarly, it is also important to let students know when they have made a mistake so that they can learn from it and take corrective measures,” Mrs Kumar said.
According to her, it is important to create a quiet learning environment in which students are able to learn properly and feel confident in seeking assistance. She said that she endeavours to break things down into simple concepts and then have the students practice until their confidence and skills improve.
“I find that students really respond well to this which means they are engaged with their Mathematics learning well. I believe that structure, practice, setting high standards and building students’ confidence are my strengths,” Mrs Kumar said.
She said that teachers should not think that they are doing ‘just another job’ but enjoy teaching with passion.
“We should be excited about having the opportunity to influence students’ lives and understand the impact that we can have on their lives,” she said.