This inspiring news comes to us from Kochi, Kerala.
Saritha Vijaykumar is a teacher with a difference. She teaches Hindi at Mar Thoma Public School in Kakkanad and has inspired 35 students of Class IX to take to gardening and farming in a big way.
Saritha got the inspiration to sow the seeds of gardening while taking online classes after COVID-19 broke out, confining students and teachers alike to their homes. After she got this brainwave, she took permission of the principal as well as the respective class teachers to induct the students in a new skill, farming. Saritha additionally made a Whatsapp group comprising of the 35 students so that quick and easy lessons in gardening and farming could be imparted with the help of technology.
According to Saritha, during the lockdown, most or all the students were sitting idle. This provided her with the perfect opportunity to introduce them to farming, imparting them with a new skill that would give them lifelong service. She started off by creating videos on farming including how to do’s and also made a calendar which had the schedules of farming for different vegetables. Her students immediately took to this new skill and were deeply interested with the nuances of farming.
There is a Green Club in the school of which Saritha is the in-charge. She says that the parents of the students highly appreciated the initiative she started and it was their encouragement that kept her going. She answers doubts posed by the students regarding farming and doles out solutions like using rice starch as an alternative to regular pesticides. The students keep Saritha updated about their progress and this gives her a sense of fulfillment. She also conducts live classes aimed to sharpen the students’ farming skills.
Saritha belongs to a farming family and had always been interested in farming. She is also involved in cultivation of an array of fruits and vegetables on the school premises. She is also the school coordinator for the Student Empowerment for Environmental Development (SEED) and this has helped her in fashioning lessons for the students.
The majority of Saritha’s students are residents of apartments which mean they have a very limited space in which to try out their gardening skills. Certain improvisations like growing spinach and coriander in bottles and grow bags and on tiny pieces of land have helped. On the World Environment Day on June 5th, Saritha made a video showcasing her students and their small successes that proved to be a hit.
Saritha encourages the students by tagging the ones with the most skill and promising them that the best farmer would head the Green Club the following year. This serves as a motivation to the students to do better and keeps the interest in farming and gardening at an optimum. Her unfailing and encouraging attitude has succeeded in converting a large swathe of students into eager gardeners and farmers.
Image Source: New Indian Express