The three-decade-old Malayalam Vidyalayam Higher Secondary School in Chennai is basking in glory. The school’s skipper has been selected for the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Best Teacher Administrator Award.
The school, located in the Venkatadra Street at Purasawalkam, is a much sought-after school in the locality, thanks to the distinct teaching methods and the cent percent win rate.
The award received by headmaster A. Vanaja has turned the spotlight on the school. The award has been instituted by the Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary Headmasters Association for the best headmaster in the state.
Vanaja says she valued the school’s standards more than any personal recognition. The teacher from Kerala says she is focused on preparing the ground for the students to study comfortably and win big.
She pursued postgraduation from the Madras University before earning a BEd degree from the Calicut University. She joined the Malayalam Vidyalayam as a teacher in 1991.
She was promoted as headmaster in 2006. The school’s commendable win rate owed it to the teachers’ attitude towards the children, she says. The first lesson is to treat teachers as best friends, not formidable tormentors.
Students in the school do not face corporal punishments or mind-numbing impositions. Teachers acknowledge the fact that each student comes with a unique skill set. Teachers are required to form a personal relationship with each of the students in the higher secondary section, Vanaja says.
The school is dominated by students from ordinary families. Students preparing for the SSLC examinations are given special training at school. Special care is taken to save students from stressful situations.
Vanaja prefers to go steadily from day one instead of putting the child under a barrage of special classes at the end of the year. Students from the school have earned the state-level rank for Malayalam five times. Every student who had appeared for the tenth-standard examinations passed with distinction.
The school has about 400 students up to the tenth standard. English medium classes were started two years ago. The school also gets Tamil students who want to learn Malayalam.
“Collective effort is the key to the school’s success,” says Vanaja. She wants to thank the school management for all the support, especially, school correspondent C. Velayudhan and chairman M.P. Purushothaman.
“This is a family,” the teacher says.