“Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.” ~A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
We are extremely honored to present an interview of a Woman in such noble profession. Mrs. Rajeswari Viswanathan is a Tamil Nadu State Government Teacher for the past 27 years, more than half of her age she has been teaching. She is the most strong, independent and joyful personality I have ever seen. I have grown up seeing this powerful/ inspirational lady manage her home, work and social-life so eloquently!
Today, let’s ask her about her teaching-journey and experiences. I am sure, we would have something new and interesting to learn!
Pri: Can you tell a little about yourself?Mrs. Rajeswari: Vanakkam. I am Rajeswari Viswanathan, working as (Tamil Nadu State Government) History Teacher. I am 48 years old and I have completed my 27 years of service in Teaching. After several years of service, I was promoted as Primary School Head Mistress. I worked as HM for 2 years. Once again, I was promoted as BT Teacher (Middle School) and I have completed 10 years serving in Middle School.
I am the youngest of seven children of Late Shri. K. P. Raju Gowder (Freedom Fighter) and Late Mrs. Rani Raju. My husband is a retired Central Government Teacher (Taught for Kendriya Vidhalaya). My son, Abhishek, is as a Lieutenant in Indian Navy (Currently placed in Gujarat). My daughter, Abinisha is doing her second year English Literature.
Pri: How did you get into teaching?Mrs. Rajeswari: It was totally an accident. When I was doing my 12thstandard, they introduced a scheme in our school, that was called as SGTT- Secondary Grade Teachers Training. I was not too keen about it, but my Head Master almost forced me to join the SGTT scheme. In the beginning, I was uninterested and sad. Later, I felt better about the course. Now, I love my job! All thanks to my respected HM.
Pri: What do you love about teaching?Mrs. Rajeswari: My most favorite part of teaching is that I get to spend lots of time with Children. Our School is a Middle School (I-VIII), apart from learning we have lots of fun; Games, Sports, Functions and other Extra-Curricular activities.
Pri: What is your teaching philosophy?Mrs. Rajeswari: As a teacher, I like to first study the child, to know the background and the circumstances the child lives/ grows in. Then, teach them good values to mold their personality/ character. Finally, I give importance to studies and teaching. The reason being, our Students come from varied backgrounds. Most of them are from Economically Backward Families and Slum areas.
The most important thing is the Teacher-Student relationship. I feel, it should be a combination of Parent-Child and Friends relationship. This is my secret to master students psychology, and my favorite teaching Philosophy.
Pri: What were your challenges and struggles during your early days of teaching? How did you overcome obstacles to establish yourself ?Mrs. Rajeswari: Maintaining the classroom students was a big task in my early days. I was appointed as Second Grade Teacher in 1990, on Dec 11th, at the age of 21. I had to control both I and II grades with more than 60 students, at the same time. So, to maintain silence in the classroom I used to talk in high-pitch all the time. I got tired and exhausted very soon. In one or two months, I figured out a way to engage the naughty and distracted students; I gave them responsibilities to channel their energies into something else. Slowly, the control of the classroom came to my hands.
Also, It was very challenging to make the Late-bloomers (Dyslexia) students to read and write.
“Dyslexia is general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. “
These students write the letters and numbers in different patterns / mirror images (For example: they write d for b). I started giving more attention/ importance to these children by giving more and more practice. I believe, I tried my best to help these kids.
Some incidents/ students are very peculiar. I recall one incident that occurred in my very First School in 1991; One of my students, Sivalosani (I Std), was a normal child but was never ready to hold a pencil itself. I tried hard to convince her, but she refused to hold. I had to take a stern decision to make her hold a pencil so that she could further learn writing. So, I very strictly asserted that she must write, I did not allow her to go until she held the pencil right. Though it was a very pressurized action, at that point, it was very necessary. Had I not put her under pressure that day, she would not have evolved into a student with beautiful handwriting! I encouraged her to write one letter per day on her slate and slowly built her confidence. Gradually, she learned to write and she developed a fantastic hand-writing that I was very much proud of. Likewise, there are so many different characters under the same roof.
Pri: Tell about your career in the last ten years.Mrs. Rajeswari: In last 10 years as a BT teacher I gave some trainings to teachers as a Resource Person (RP). Here are some of the training sessions that I took and then gave to other teachers:
- Social Science content based training ALM (Active Learning Methodology).
- Social Awarness and Cyber Crime (Got trained in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, District-level and gave training sessions to Block Level Teachers as a Key Resource Person.)
- Map Reading Skill’ Training (Took Training at DIET- Kotagiri and gave training to Block level.)
- VITAL Training (Value Integrated Teaching and Learning) – Took Training at DIET- Kotagiri and gave training to Block level.
- Art of Questioning Training at District Level
- National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Diploma in Ele. Edu. (D.El.Ed.) for private school untrained teachers handling Nursery and Primary. (Duration- 15 days)
- Yesterday, I received a call from DIET Kotagiri; they have selected me as a Social Science RP to take the training from them to train our teachers during Summer holidays. (Because there will be Syllabus change for classes I, VI, IX and XI, this year.)
I thank GOD, my parents, family members and colleagues for their great support, and my Higher Authorities for recognizing me and giving me this honor.
Pri: What do you think should be changed in our education system?Mrs. Rajeswari: “No Detention” system should be the primary change; this will make Children know their responsibilities in studies and perform well. Also, this sense of responsibility would make them shine in all competitive exams. The second change needed is, the periodic-syllabus change to incorporate the real-life implementations and experiences relevant to day to day life.
Pri: What would be your advice to young people who aspire to be successful in education field?Mrs. Rajeswari: Teaching is such a gifted job! From the students point-of-view, we are the Superheroes/ Role-models they look up to. So, we need to equip ourselves and keep our knowledge up-to-date. We need to change our teaching methods often to make classes interesting; we could use E-devices, Drama, Field Trips, Elections, Songs, Debate, Quiz, etc… to engage the students in class. We should do something new each day to attract the young-minds so that they would never miss even a single class. It is true that teachers need to prepare well before the class and teach without using books. This makes a huge difference in teaching effectiveness.
Pri: What would be your three most important tips for budding teachers?Mrs. Rajeswari: Dedication. Patience. Confidence.
Pri: As we just celebrated Women’s Day, what is your opinion on women empowerment?Mrs. Rajeswari: Yes, we are celebrating Women’s Day every year from 1978. But, it is sad that the motto of the celebration is not fulfilled yet.
Even uneducated housewives manage their families in exceptional ways. That’s true empowerment!
From Kitchen Garden to Space Garden Women’s contributions are huge.
Pri: Do you want to say anything else to our readers?Mrs. Rajeswari: Be proud to be a Woman!
மாதர் தம் இழிவு செய்யும்
தாதர் என்ற நிலைமை மாறி
ஆண்க ளோடு பெண்களும்
சரிநி கர்ச மானமாக
வாழ்வம் இந்த நாட்டிலே
(விடுதலை) — Subramania Bharatiyar
I thank the coordinator, Preethi, for giving me the opportunity to meet the readers through this blog-interview. I thank the readers for taking the time to read the interview. I hope my experiences give you some insight or inspiration. I further extend my special thanks to the same interviewer for her well-designed questions. Yes, designing questions is an art too. Keep it up!
God bless you! Thank you very much!
Pri: It was such a delight interviewing you! I am sure our readers will enjoy your interesting life experiences. There are great lessons and tips to be learned from them.
I humbly thank Mrs. Rajeswari for agreeing to give her precious time to the interview. Thank you and we wish you many more years of success and growth as a Teacher!