‘Joyful learning’ empowers students, says National Teachers’ awardee Nongmaithem Gautam Singh

Imphal: Nongmaithem Gautam Singh, a 49-year-old National Teachers’ 2022 awardee from Manipur’s Imphal East district, is on a mission to lift the image of the government schools in the state through innovative teaching concepts and creative skills while renovating classrooms with colourful art and designed chalk free white board for the students.

He along with few like-minded government school teachers have come forward and formed a team ‘Teachers’ Volunteer Team (TVT)’ and so far, they have painted around 150 schools voluntarily on Sundays and holidays.

Nongmaithem, who is presently serving as a primary teacher at Eastern Ideal High School in Manipur’s Imphal West district was recently conferred the prestigious National Awards to Teachers 2022 by President Droupadi Murmu on the occasion of the Teachers’ Day celebration in New Delhi.

He was awarded for his innovative ideas and creative skills while teaching his students with colourful art and converting black board into a chalk free white board for students.

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In 2011, while joining as a primary teacher at Tangkham Primary School at Khundrakpam in Imphal East, Nongmaithem was surprised to know about the presence of just few students in the school.

However, with an aim to provide quality education through activity-based and joyful learning, he managed to increased the strength of students during his short posting.

According to him, he focussed on teaching the students using waste as a tool to teach different concepts. However, all the innovate ideas and concepts, he said, was inspired from his students over the years.

“During my posting at Haoreibi Junior High School in Imphal West, my students used to put up everything, including proms and arts, on the wall, so I was called by the headmaster since I was the class teacher. But I told him that this is a platform where the students express their ideas and views since we don’t give them enough platform to express their viewpoints,” said Nongmaithem.

“Without my students, I will not be able to innovate or get new teaching method ideas. After interacting them, I learnt the idea to innovate while going through the transaction of teaching-learning. Through them, I gained how to make teaching materials, including the eco-friendly bulletin board and white board,” he informed.

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The white board mission was initiated in 2015 with an aim to covert the black boards in the classrooms into a chalk free white board for the students.

“The idea was shared on Facebook and I received immense response from others. So, I hired a carpenter and from the money donated by well-wishers, I make about 50-60 white boards and distributed to 16 schools, including Ukhrul district,” added Nongmaithem.

At present, apart from teaching the primary students, he is also voluntarily teaching the pre-primary students and engaged them with learning experience in fun-filled playful manner.

“We don’t have an appointed pre-primary school teacher in the school, so few of us volunteered and teach the young minds,” said Nongmaithem while adding that “It is not easy to teach students in pre-primary class because we need to sink in with them.”

Nongmaithem also constantly shared the activities of his students and various innovative teaching ideas on Facebook group ‘Let’s go to school and teach a lesson’.

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