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Know Your Teacher: ‘Create an environment that supports students’ well-being’

A pre-primary teacher at Apeejay School, Nerul says that the best source of energy is the bright smiles of her students



As a mother-teacher – a class teacher and a second mother in the tiny tots’ lives who knows about every child in her class – she believes that education holds the power to shape minds. Having the opportunity and privilege of shaping the minds of students is what she finds to be truly inspiring. Watching them grow and succeed in their lives has always given her an immense sense of joy and contentment as a nation-builder.

Therefore, after completing her graduation BCom from Mumbai University, she went on to pursue Early Child Care Education certification from Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University, Mumbai, followed by a BEd. 

In a candid interview, Ranjana Koul, a PRT at Apeejay School, Nerul talks about the challenges she faces as a kindergarten teacher and how she deals with them among other things. 

Being a pre-primary teacher can be exhausting. How do you keep your energy levels?

The best source of energy for me has always been the bright smiles of my students. Their hunger to learn more is what keeps me going. But a healthy mind needs a healthy body. And I make healthy choices throughout the day to keep my energy levels up. Eating healthy food, drinking lots of water, keeping a healthy mindset, and exercising regularly is my secret to a happy and healthy body and mind.

Exercising is not only physical but it’s mental too. So, my mind is always occupied with thinking in a different way as to how I can present my lessons more effectively and creatively to present the class more interestingly and fruitfully.

How would you describe your journey?

In my 20 years of journey as a teacher, there have been a lot of exciting challenges and hurdles. But working for Apeejay School, Nerul was like a dream come true. Today, it’s like my second family. Apeejay School is a tree and under its shelter, I have grown leaps and bounds. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of this prestigious institute. While teaching here I have learnt a lot which has helped me become a better human being. I always feel fulfilled when I see my students climbing the ladder of success higher and higher in their lives and will continue my journey of teaching and learning with the same spirit ahead in the future.

Ranjana Koul, a PRT at Apeejay School, Nerul

What strategies do you use to keep the learning fun and engaging?

I connect my students with real-world examples and stories of their age group. We, at Apeejay, focus on children’s physical and motor, cognitive, socio-emotional-ethical, cultural/artistic, communication, and early language and numeracy development skills. This provides a framework for a comprehensive and all-round development of the child.  The most important strategy of mine is questioning the students while taking the class because I feel questioning acts like fertilisers in the tender mind of students to think.

How important is it to focus on toddlers’ emotional and social development?

It is observed that students’ emotional well-being directly affects their overall mental health which impacts building healthy relationships and academic performance. Thus, by focusing on their emotional and social growth, we create an environment that supports their well-being, enhances their learning experience, and prepares them for a successful future.

For most tiny tots this is their first formal education. How do you deal with kids who find it difficult to adjust to classroom learning?

It’s very important to know that each child is unique. Students should be provided with a welcoming environment and efforts should be made to understand their weaknesses. We use a teaching method that suits them and regularly communicate with the child’s parents to discuss the child’s progress. We compliment the kid’s smallest achievement and constantly encourage them. Finally, implementing innovative ways of teaching and having patience and persistence is what I believe is the key to transforming students.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.