With 40% blindness, Chennai teacher leads her students

Handling primary school students is a task in itself, but ever heard of a teacher who effortlessly steers a class despite having limited vision? That is S Karthika, a resident of Tansi Nagar, for you.

She handles 20 school dropouts at the St Antony’s Primary School, Tansi Nagar. It is a Non-Residential Special Training Centre (NRSTC), which comes under Samagra Siksha Abhiyan, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA).

Karthika lives in Annai Indira Nagar and has been teaching at the school for the past four years. She has low eye-sight, but is highly motivated. She is also simultaneously pursuing her B.Ed. “I have an optic nerve problem, and my vision has been 40 per cent less from birth,” she begins.

Even as her condition does not have any treatment or remedy, it has never come in the way of her passion to teach. “I begin each batch by teaching Tamil, English and Maths and then go into the rest of the subjects. I make the smaller children sit closer to me, so that they follow all my instructions.” Her class comprises six boys and 14 girls from Velacheri and Pallikaranai areas.

Recently, her students put together a science exhibition and took part in sports activities. They were also taken on a day trip to the Planetarium and Children’s Park.

“To be a teacher has been my ambition from a young age. When in school, my teachers used to make me the class leader and I would teach my friends and thus developed an interest in teaching. I am completely satisfied with my job,” Karthika smiles.

Another teacher, Revathi, says, “She knows each student well. She files their records perfectly. All the officials who come for survey appreciate her. In fact, they want her to be a part of the survey team this summer to get students under SSA. This demands teachers to visit the neighbourhood and identify¬†dropouts. She has agreed to do it and her mother would be assisting her. Impressively, she has not asked anyone for help with here work.”

However, even though Karthika is highly qualified, she was not given opportunities earlier. “When she approached for the job, our school Headmistress Sister S Lourdu Amali was impressed by her hard work, independence and determination,” says her colleague.