They say that students are inclined to remember what they learn a lot easier when the teacher is enthusiastic about the subject. Anitha Sanal Kumar Pandalanghat is one such educator. She not only brings her enthusiasm to the classroom; she shares her passion for teaching and learning with the entire school.
Anitha has been an educator for fourteen years and currently works at Our Own English High School Sharjah (OOS), in the position of Subject Specialist & Activity In Charge Senior Faculty Home Science.
Why did you choose to become an educator?
While required, classes have mandated curricula that teachers are expected to follow. It is the teacher who decides what will happen in the classroom each day. Teachers teach their curriculum in very different ways depending on their knowledge, personality and beliefs. Not many jobs provide an individual with so much room to be creative and autonomous each day. Moreover, adolescents are both easily amused and very amusing, so working with them provides many opportunities for laughter. A day of teaching when you do not laugh at least a couple times is quite rare. This is also a process where I become a learner, to be real for my students, to be authentic, to make mistakes, to be passionate, to geek out, and to get very serious when I need to be.
Who/What inspires you most?
My main inspiration is the realisation that every individual has boundless potential and unless and until the effort goes into grooming, refining and sharpening their skills, it would all go to waste.
How do you stay abreast of current trends in science and technology?
I read blogs and magazines written by people who are into innovation, through google alerts and Ted radio hour. We also have our school IT experts who inform us about the latest apps which can be utilised in the teaching and learning process.
Share three strategies that you use to encourage girls to love science?
a) Teach students that academic abilities are expandable and improvable. More of a brain based approach.
b) Foster the development of strong beliefs that more accurately reflect their abilities in these subjects.
c) Create a classroom environment that sparks initial curiosity and fosters long-term interest in exploration.
How has Maker Day helped to foster students’ creativity and innovation?
Maker Day provides an informal, non- structured environment of learning and making, where the child is at the center of their own learning journey. It has enabled them to tap into their natural powers of imagination and creativity.
What is the best advice that you have received and how has this helped you?
“There is no failure, only outcomes. You have to make things happen, whatever it takes, and find opportunity in any situation.” These are the words my mother would often reiterate whenever I experience disappointments. She would say, “You can’t give up just because you can’t see what’s behind the corner.” These words of wisdom have always had a rejuvenating effect on me and help me forge ahead.