Posted by: greatfoundation | June 22, 2010

One year of voluntary Math teaching: Utpala Joshi

As I finished one year of voluntary teaching of math to 10th standard students, I wondered if the effect can be seen in the exam results. I am very much aware of the teachings of the Bhagwad Geeta that all work and especially voluntary work should be selfless.  To add to it, there are so many variables that contribute to the result. The efforts of individual students, the efforts of their teachers are primary in achieving success. Also the subject of ‘ordinary math’ was introduced by the board this year and that made life much simpler for many.

Just going to the school on each Saturday and teaching the students with complete involvement, has definitely given one great result – an unusual satisfaction to me!

And yes, the exam results also speak well. The passing percentage has improved by a staggering 17%. Not for a moment can I take credit for the increased passing percentage but I can surely feel good that my contribution counted somewhere.

I recollect a student very well. He slept in my class for all of the 60 minutes. I did not take it personally but was curious to know why was he so uninterested. He admitted that he did not understand a word that was being spoken in the class. His basics were so weak that he could not do a simple sum and my teaching seemed definitely too advanced to him. I told him to spend only 10 minutes, tackle one sum and ask me wherever he had a problem. He was skeptical but tried. I helped. Other students from the class helped. He could solve the sum. And he smiled! From next Saturday onwards, he was a regular in my class.

Here are few thing that worked and one that did not –

  • I gave ‘real’ answer sheets to write their answers. The practice surely helped in removing fear of exam from their mind.
  • I checked their paper and gave feedback individually.
  • I gave them model question papers with answers. Everybody got his or her own copy. Some used it diligently and it helped them.

Some unfortunately used it for copying during the prelim exam. This was a distressing lesson for me and I’ve not a found an answer to the ‘copy’ menace yet.

Any suggestions?


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