I am a teacher. I should teach all my subjects with equal vigor and ensure that all my students understand what I am trying to convey. I try my level best to be honest. However, one subject that always poses a challenge to me is – environmental studies.
Yes, it is the easiest of all the subjects, but do try teaching ecosystem and different types of pollution to the undergraduate students in technical streams, you will end up with a room full of dozers! My first challenge hence was undoubtedly to see that students do not doze away while I am explaining natural and man-made resources.
As a part of their curriculum, students are always made to study environmental science. Though they learn the importance of the environment and the harmful effects of pollution, very little is done to ensure that they practice it. Especially the ever-enthusiastic and restless teenagers in under-graduate courses are negligent when it comes to environmental studies as they are pretty much bored of learning the same stuff since their primary school days.
To get rid of the boredom, I came up with various classroom activities and games that revolved around environmental studies. Every class now was full of energy and laughter and entertainment. The most memorable moments and friendships forged with my dear students were during these classes. Both my students and I looked forward to the classes of environmental studies.
When I changed universities, I got to know that I would again be teaching this subject. With the previously earned confidence, I looked forward to this experience with a new set of students. New university, new classrooms, new students, but same subject and same old me with my same tried and tested tricks. I wanted to do something new and not just hold on to my old successful ideas. Thus, a plan to ensure they take up environmental initiative came up. At the least, as an assignment for them to score marks. Each one of them had to contribute to earn their scores.
The awareness about the ill-effects of plastic bags prompted my students to campaign for the use of paper bags. They got together to collect paper bags. They set up a counter and donated the paper bags to the visitors at the college food court and advocated the use of paper bags.
The idea was a huge success making the students motivated to do more. Next up their sleeve is to follow the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharath campaign. What more could I ask for? By the way, they have now moved on to the higher semesters and no more environmental science classes, neither for them nor for me. But still, the “Evergreen club” is brimming with ideas and action! The subject that I dreaded to teach actually gave me so many cherished memories.