Summer camp for teachers M Ramya @ TOI

April 2, 2011 at 4:24 am

Our sincere thanks to THE TIMES OF INDIA for the press release of NALS.

CHENNAI: Coming up: summer camps for teachers. This vacation some schools are engaging professionals to give teachers a taste of adventure, ranging from rock climbing and trekking to body surfing, along with a dab of academics.

At the end of each academic year it is common for teachers to look at summer as an escape from the monotonous classroom routine. Many apply for postgraduate degrees, which may earn them an additional increment but do not add much value to their career. So, proactive schools are coming up with fun ways to use the holidays and give teachers opportunities for professional development.

“The sessions are not purely academic. They also serve as stress busters, inculcate team spirit among teachers and help them find effective solutions for problems faced in the classroom,” said educational consultant K R Maalathi. She said she has received calls from even schools in small cities like Madurai, Dharmapuri, Tiruchi and Mel Maruvathur, where the trend is catching up.

R Anita Santhakumar, principal, S D H Jain Vidyalaya in Madurai, talks about the success of their first attempt to motivate teachers. The school arranged for their teachers to take part in an outbound training programme for one batch of teachers in Coonoor. “The oldest participant was 53, but she enthusiastically walked across the Burma Bridge set up at a height of 60 feet, did some rock climbing, river crossing, went on jungle treks and even some body surfing. Whenever a teacher hesitated the others would encourage and help them complete the task. Our teachers have been asking for more such camps,” Anita Santhakumar said.

She said that her teachers enjoyed the experience so much because it was a break not just from the systematic training that they give their students and everyday teaching but also a short pause from household chores.

“Teachers work as individuals in classrooms, but sometimes they are expected to take up administrative roles and manage

a team (like when a senior teacher becomes a principal). Then there is a disconnect. These activities help teachers interact with each other and look at their colleagues not as competitors but as common torch bearers of the school,” said Seshadri Venkatesan, director, operations, National Adventure and Leadership School, which has conducted programmes for school teachers.

In these camps, teachers can share best practices, and bring leadership skills to the fore so they can transfer these skills to their students as well.