1) Background – Academics :
Had primary education in a remote village with simple but great teachers, who not only shared their knowledge but also “formatted” my mind. Migrated to Ahmedabad and done bachelors in science with chemistry and the inclination towards social activism helped me do Masters in Development Communication. My special interest in nature and environment must be the imbibed quality from childhood memories that also helped to go for a Post Graduate Programme in Environment and Ecology from Indian Institute of Environment & Ecology, New Delhi.
2) Why teaching? How did you enter this field?
Teaching is the best profession, sometimes the only way to impart the knowledge that you have accumulated, to inspire others with the knowledge and experience you have gathered and motivate the people around to think differently and force them to make a difference in their own life and the life around them. I still believe that teaching is the best profession, a noble profession indeed.
3) Has the mindset of people changed towards teachers?
Yes, it seems so. There was a time in our villages where teachers were considered to be above all class divides. They were “masters” and so above all, as far as social justice and disputes were considered. I remember vividly how petty disputes among neighbors and farmers were settled by the “master” of the village. Now it is like any other profession. People have started treating teachers as just another paid servant. But I dare to say that this shift in respect and perspective is mainly because of the present day teachers.
4) Your favourite teaching method….Fr ex.- through games
I strongly believe that nobody can teach anybody. What you can do is just give an opportunity or create a situation from where anybody can learn. Learning should be fun, so I use lot of games and natural situations. A good teacher should be able to create a “teaching moment” instead of depending entirely on the constraint of finishing the syllabus or helping the students gain “scores” in the test.
5) Any incident that changed your thinking…
After helping thousands of children learn about environment through almost two decades of personal efforts, I was about to quit the chosen path and in a mood to think about other options. But, once a principal of a very reputed educational institution mentioned that she and her family became environment conscious and were forced to adopt an environment friendly lifestyle because her son had said that that’s what he had learned from Madhu Sir of Anala. This was not only a very satisfying moment for me but helped me decide to do what I always loved to do, helping children understand our environment.
6) Philosophy of your life…..
If humans are to survive, we need to protect the natural wealth that makes our way of life possible. We must look into the future, not just a few years, but for thousands of years, and use the knowledge of ecology to ensure that our actions are not damaging. Our children need to be educated and encouraged to protect and preserve plants and animals, their habitats and the natural processes, by which they live and die. And if you want to do something, just do it now, this is the right moment, don’t wait.
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