I was travelling from Chitradurga to Davengere, while at the same time, my colleagues Krittika, Ranjani, Rakesh and Guru were covering Koppala, Yadgir, Dharwar, Mysore, Bidar, Belgaum and Gulbarga. As I later rushed to Tumkur, I was also monitoring news from Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu. I began to feel like I was in a press room reporting 'Breaking News', with Shariff anchoring the programme in Bengaluru. But, this is not breaking news. It was the unfolding of the Subject Teacher Forum district level training for Maths, Science and Social Science teachers of government secondary schools that is currently taking place in 15 educational districts across Karnataka.
While planning training programmes in the public education system, especially attempting to cover a geographical span as large as Karnataka, we inevitably have to follow a cascading model. This means we train teachers to be State Resource Persons (SRP), who then train teachers to be Master Resource Persons (MRP) for each district. This enables the teachers to reach out to all the teachers in each of their districts. One common process question is how do we ensure that the programme doesn't get 'diluted'.
As I am relatively new to teacher training, once the training of SRPs was completed, the word 'dilution' hung over my head like a rain-filled cloud. I couldn't sleep the night before the first batch of MRPs were to be trained.
Once the SRPs started training though the cloud burst and it was like soothing ice cold water pouring over my head. The SRPs were magical. Many of them had internalised the philosophy and approach we were attempting to accomplish and were far superior resource persons than I will be in a long time.
I cannot forget some of the SRPs who took to the training like fish to water. Some exemplary examples are: Radha, Rajesh and Vishwanath who connected the NCF 2005 with real classroom experiences; Radha, Rajesh, Suchetha, Veena and Shobha who connected with constructivism and conceptual maths and science learning; the young Roopa, Mamta, Hilda taking great pride and exhibiting absolute professionalism while conducting the training; Harisha and Naveen Kumar who went that extra step to connect Geogebra to their classroom teaching learning; Rajesh whose love for the subject was dazzling; Tharanath and Rajesh's great enthusiasm to embrace technology that allows teachers to connect and enhance their learning and sharing; Vishwanath who taught me what 'learner centred' really means in teacher education and Gopinath who's ownership of the programme made the district lab a great place to work; CNS for his concern for fellow teachers; Shailaja, Mallikarjun, Prasanna Kumar Shetty, Isa Raddi and Anil Kumar taking great interest in ensuring the district level programmes turned out well; HSR, BMT and Basavaraju for being an example of how to grow from technology beginners to role models in technology use in their districts. And I can go on.
There are many lessons that I learnt in a programme of this magnitude. First, to have faith in the teachers and set aside the 'dilution' cloud. Second, to take advantage of the available digital communication and keep in touch consistently with the SRPs and MRPs. This helps in building bonds that last a lifetime. Third, to provide rich resources and support when the programme moves to the districts. I also learnt to be an integral part of the action in each of the districts, virtually, if not physically! Fourth, to always keep reading, to reflect on and improve my skills.
My eyes are glazed as I watch the training unfold in each district. Some brilliant, some good, some that need improvement, some that need rethinking. But finally, I pause, observe and become a learner as there is indeed a lot to learn from all the teachers!