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Know Your Teacher: ‘Teaching is about keeping students enthralled in the lesson’

A Biology teacher at Apeejay School says that teachers must continue to be learners

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After her post-graduation and armed with a degree in Education she began her journey that has spanned a world of knowledge under her wings. Meet Sarita Chawla who has been teaching Science to class VII and Biology to VIII, IX, and X at Apeejay School, Saket for over 30 years now.

This is not all. She was awarded the education prize – tGELF – that endeavours to identify those teachers who have made the paradigm shift towards child-centric teaching and thereby changed the ethos in their classrooms by directly engaging as well as empowering their students in the teaching-learning process.

“My motivation has been and will continue to be sourced by Founder-Chairman Dr Stya Paul sir. It began 30 years back when he motivated and made a young novice like me feel like the flag bearer who is on an important mission. To date, this thought has helped bring in commitment to any task that needs to be done. Working under different principals at Apeejay School, Saket has also helped hone my skills,” Chawla said.

Excerpts from an interview.

What’s your teaching style/philosophy?

There can be no set pattern when it comes to a teaching style. Teachers are dealing with dynamic entities; each student is different and what works for one, might not for the other. Teaching is about keeping students enthralled in the lesson, a lecture will have to be a mix of humour, storytelling, anecdotes, drama, and hands-on learning. Teaching is ever-changing in complexity.

How has digitalisation changed education?

It was great for those who were comfortable using the changing technology. Fortunately, staying abeam with the changing technology was a positive move for me – it was plain sailing and stimulating. We got training on how to use the Zoom platform; as was given to each teacher at Apeejay. After that, it was adrenalising when I came across so many different teaching tools: Padlet, Quizlet, and Moodle with their never-ending fantastic features. Then there was the Zoom Chatrooms or the immersive Class view, Kahoot and so much more. Now on some rare days, when we do need to take online classes, it is so much fun.


Teaching is about keeping students enthralled in the lesson, a lecture will have to be a mix of humour, storytelling, anecdotes, drama, and hands-on learning. Teaching is ever-changing in complexity

Sarita Chawla, Science Teacher, Apeejay School, Saket


Parent engagement is important. How do you encourage them?

There is no textbook or guide yet that can give an accurate prescription for any fault a student might do or has done. The only advice here for all parents is: ‘Stand close to your child; let him/her know, you are there for him/her. Encourage them to go find their path’. Another area to address is criticism. It is a necessary part of a child’s life, to grow and improve but if not given correctly, it can lead to confrontation. If you must correct your ward, then criticise the action, not your child, and never lower a student’s self-esteem.

 How and why did you choose this school?

Apeejay has been a part of my family. My husband, now superannuated as a Commodore in the Indian Navy, was an alumnus of Apeejay School, Faridabad. My brother-in-law is also from Apeejay. So it was an order to be told, by my late father-in-law, to go and apply at Apeejay School, Faridabad, when we were transferred here 28 years back. I was at this branch for a year and a half before we shifted to Delhi and that is when I joined the Saket branch.

Why should teachers be learners too?

Anything that was found/written a year back becomes redundant in this era of the Internet. So, it is important for all teachers to continue being learners and to keep themselves evolved with the changes happening around them.

Has there been an ‘AHA’ moment for you?

Yes, there have been two. First, when I won the Education Prize 2019-Joyful Learning. The citation said: “The Education Prize” tGELF endeavours to identify those teachers who have made the paradigm shift towards child-centric teaching and thereby changed the ethos in their classrooms by directly engaging as well as empowering their students in the teaching-learning process.

Second, when I got the citation for “International School Awards Coordinator 2018-19; it said “International Coordinator of the School” who has worked so hard to coordinate such an impressive range of work, she is an asset to the school and the wider community.

A message to the students.

There is a quote by Mario Andretti: “Desire is the key to motivation, but it is determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”

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.

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