Tuesday 12 May 2020 3:20 AM UTC
By Balagopal (www.ukmalayalee.com)
Neethu Haridas, a former women’s footballer at QPR Football Club in London and a Russel-group science teacher, has always been passionate about what she did. In 2017 she became the first Keralite to be nominated for the Asian Football Awards, Women’s Player of the Year Award.
She then became the finalists for “Sport Personality of the Year” 2017 for the prestigious Asian Achievers Awards held at Grosvenor Hotel, Mayfair. As a science teacher, Neethu has had a wealth of experience in comprehensive, grammar and independent schools.
She gained experience in leadership quite quickly within her career and held the position of deputy head of science within 4 years of being in this profession. Her skills and expertise landed her with an excellent role at a top private school in London where she currently works now.
She believed that an excellent education should be a basic human right and not an expensive luxury. She wanted education to be enjoyable, easily accessible and for every student to be exposed to the same excellent standards of education. She argues that teachers should be lifted off their administrative burdens and they should begin to invest into what teaching should always be about.
Neethu Haridas talks to Balagopal, editor of www.ukmalayalee.com, about her experiences of teaching in a comprehensive, grammar and independent school and about her novel venture of offering free science lessons online.
Q: From your experience, can you explain how you found it different teaching in a comprehensive, grammar and independent school?
We have comprehensive schools; these are the government funded state schools. We have selective schools such as grammar schools which pool in pupils based on their IQ, and we have independent schools which are privately funded, some of which are selective too.
The jobs we acquire in life are for sure worth celebrating but remember for the vast majority of us who attained real monetary success, also started the race ten strides ahead of the starting line.
This may be from having the privilege of attending a grammar or private school or simply living in a developed country which puts us 95% ahead of the rest of the world.
My aspiration in each school was the same but my outcome has been very different. When I worked in a state school, in an area dominated by low incomes, I noticed that the same lesson I taught took me double the time to teach.
This was mainly because teachers were overworked and under resourced due to poor state funding and children didn’t always understand the value of the education they were receiving or in some cases not receiving.
Some grew up without bookshelves in their homes, whilst others looked at their parents as role models who did just fine without an education, not taking into consideration some of the tough circumstances they grew up in.
When I moved to teach at a private school I noticed I could finish the same lesson in a third of the time. I was better resourced as a teacher which meant I was given the time to invest in my practice and I wasn’t overworked in the same way.
This meant the standard of my teaching greatly improved and in turn, allowed students to value the education they were receiving as they walked into my classroom.
Q: So, are you calling for an educational reform in the UK?
No, I am not calling for a national reform for education. Well, not today anyway. But what I am asking for, is for students to be exposed to the same excellent standards of education.
For teachers to be lifted off their administrative burdens and begin to invest into what teaching should always be about. Making learning fun and inspiring for all.
Learning skills to think for yourself. Feeling inspired to learn and most importantly for all students to access an excellent education. ALL being the key word here.
Q: Can you please tell us what efforts you are making to start a change in the education scene in the UK?
Like I said, an excellent education should be a basic human right and not an expensive luxury. An education that is enjoyable. An education that is accessible to all.
Therefore, with my 12 years of studying and teaching science, across a number of different schools I have created The Study Hive. An educational platform that is interactive, engaging and enjoyable.
I am working tirelessly to put all my expertise in creating free online science videos and live-streaming lessons. These live-streaming lessons take place every Thursday at 1pm on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and are aimed for students to listen to, interact with and ask questions.
Most importantly, to be able to feel confident and love the subject again in the same way that the students in my class do.
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