Standards 5 to 8
Teachers - Standards 5 to 8
Left to right: Poonam, Anandi, Sathiya, Anbu, Vanitha, Arulmozhi, Radhakrishna, Rabindra
Arulmozhi (5th standard class teacher and Tamil teacher for standards 5,6,7 & 8.)
Arulmozhi started teaching at Aikiyam in January 2014.
She was born in 1983, and grew up in Sanjeevnagar, one of Auroville’s neighbouring villages. She has an MA in Tamil Literature, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (BEd). Before coming to Aikiyam she taught in Sanjeevnagar Primary School and the Kuilapalayam Trust School.
She is very happy at Aikiyam. She enjoys the smaller classes and the emphasis on activity-based learning and creative expression, which were not part of her previous teaching experience. She also loves the extra-curricular activities and field trips, because they make the children more involved. She recently went to Thanjavur with the 5th and 6th grade students, which was a new experience for her as well as for the students. She says that everybody, from the principal to the students, treats each other with respect at Aikiyam.
Sathiya (6th standard class teacher and English teacher for standards 5,6,7& 8. She also teaches the first standard class one hour per week.)
Sathiya started teaching at Aikiyam in 2009.
She was born in 1986 in Kuilapalayam. She has an MA in English, a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching Skills, and a BEd.
Sathiya enrolled as a student in New Creation School (now Aikiyam) as a small child and continued till she completed the 8th Standard and then went to After School (now NESS) from standards 9 till 12. When she was in the second standard and 8 years old she was invited to live in the students’ boarding, run by Roy, who was then the principal of the school. Boarders were chosen on the basis of being good students from poor families. There were 3 daughters and one son in Sathiya’s family, so her parents welcomed this move as a good opportunity for Sathiya, and were happy because she would be able to visit them on the weekends. She remembers this period of her life as a very happy one. She remained in the boarding for 16 years and left one month before getting married. Sathiya loves Aikiyam and loves teaching here. Her mind and heart are connected to Aikiyam. She knows what other schools are like, because she did training in them as a student teacher.
Vanitha (7th standard class teacher and Math teacher for standards 5,6,7 & 8.)
Vanitha started teaching at Aikiyam in 2010.
She was born in 1984 in Kuilapalayam, She has a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Mathematics and a BEd.
She attended New Creation School (now Aikiyam) until 7th standard, which was as far as it went at that time. She then went to Udavi for 8th standard, and After School (now NESS), where she completed standard 12. She moved to the school boarding, in 1992, when she was 8, as her father was dead, and her mother had three other children to care for.
Vanitha always wanted to be a nurse, so after completing standard12, she went to a nursing college in Vellore, but it closed after three months, so she worked as a volunteer at the Auroville Health Centre for the rest of that year. She then attempted to enroll in another nursing college in Pondicherry, but it also did not work out, so she got a job at the Cluny Hospital in Pondy. However the wages were low and the travelling time was long. After a few months she left this job, and decided to try a different career path.
In 2006 she applied to do a Bachelor’s Degree in Math, as she had been good at math in school. She completed this in 2009 and went immediately to study for a BEd, and in 2010 came to Aikiyam.
She spent her first year at Aikiyam in the Special Needs program. Then she taught Social Science for three years. In 2014 she became the Math teacher. She says the most important thing for her is job satisfaction. She loves teaching at Aikiyam, but cannot compare it with any other school because she has never studied at or taught in any school outside of Auroville.
In addition to teaching, Vanitha and her husband Tixon presently manage the school boarding for students from poor families.
Radhakrishnan (8th standard class teacher and Science teacher for standards 5,6,7 & 8.)
Radhakrishnan started teaching at Aikiyam in July 2009,
He was born in Pondicherry in 1972 and has a Master’s Degree in English and Zoology and a BEd.
He began his teaching career in 1994 teaching Science in the Indian International School in Saudi Arabia. After 2 years he returned to India and completed his higher education, and began teaching at a high school in Kalapet. He taught science there from 1998 to 2003. In 2003 he moved to a higher secondary school in Marakkanam, where he was the principal. A hip operation made the long travel distance to this school difficult, so he resigned in 2009.
He likes teaching at Aikiyam because of the freedom given to both teachers and students. “Nobody is forcing the students. There is no corporal punishment. In the schools, I taught in before, it was ‘chalk and talk’, and very result oriented, with far fewer activities than we have at Aikiyam,” he says. He resonates with the principle of Sri Aurobindo that nothing can be taught.
Karthikeyan (teaches Social Science to grades 5, 6, 7 and 8)
Karthik is from Thiruchitrambalam. After finishing school, he came to Auroville to work as a mason’s helper in 2002, aged 16. Later he worked as a storekeeper with a construction team while attending English classes at Illaignarkal School.
In 2006 he did a year long apprenticeship with Priya Vincent at Buddha Garden. He says this was an amazing year for him, educative in many ways, including, farming, self-awareness and speaking English. From 6am till 9am he worked in the garden with the volunteers. After 9 there was the open education program, where volunteers taught a wide variety of subjects, depending on their knowledge. Then he moved to Sadhana Forest for a year, and following this he worked in Pitchandikulam Forest for 8 months. Then he moved to College Guest House where he stayed for 2.5 years, helping to run the guest house, making a vegetable garden and studying nonviolent communication. In 2011 he moved to Solitude farm and 6 months later he became an Aurovilian. All this while he was pursuing his university studies by correspondence, earning an MSc in geography.
Then he went to England to attend a mature student program of free dialogue at a Krishnamoorthy School for two years. When he returned to India he taught social studies at Pathashaala, a Krishnamoorthy School near Chennai.
In November 2016 he came back to Auroville, and took care of the logistics for a course on eco villages at Pitchandikulam. When the program was over he went back to Solitude farm in February 2017, where he was in charge of the volunteer program. He stayed there for 6 months, while looking for an opportunity in education. He sent his CV to the Teachers’ Centre, and was referred to Aikiyam.
One of the first things he did at Aikiyam was a one day farming project with Krishna of Solitude Farm for each of the classes from grades 5 to 8. This program focused on why organic farming is so important, and teaching the children how to recognize and use the local herbs and vegetables. It was enjoyable and educative, and will be continued in coming years.
Anbarasan (Anbu) (Special Needs (Supportive Learning) Teacher for standards 4,5,6,7 & 8.)
Anbu started teaching at Aikiyam in July 2012
He was born in 1987 and grew up in Periyarmudaliarchavady, one of the seaside villages near Auroville. He has a BA and a Diploma in Education.
He taught second and third standards at Auroville’s Isaiambalam School for 2.5 years and then did a special teaching assignment to prepare seven teenagers, who had dropped out of school, so they could attend high school. As this project took place on the Aikiyam campus, the school was able to observe Anbu’s relationship to his students, and invited him, after he completed the project, to replace our Special Needs teacher, who was resigning.
He works with the Math and Science classes, and whenever he observes someone having a difficulty, he takes them out and gives extra help. When they feel confident, they return to the regular class. Most of the children, he works with, have behavior or personal problems, so with extra attention, they can make enough progress to be reintegrated into the main class. He has very few students, who have more serious learning disabilities.
Anbu likes Aikiyam because the children are encouraged to speak frankly to the teachers about their difficulties. There is a weekly meeting of 7th and 8th graders where they talk about feelings and own up to any mistakes they may have made, or regrets about something they have done. Anbu also appreciates the fact that the school is concerned about the health of the students. This is very unusual for a school in Tamil Nadu, he says. He finds Aikiyam, like other places in Auroville, to be free and flexible.
Anbu is also one of the school sports teachers. His passion is volley ball. Children from the 4th to 8th standards attend sports (games or swimming) every day from Monday till Friday.
Poonam and Rabindra teach Hindi to grades 4,5,6,7 & 8.
Poonam and Rabindra joined Aikiyam as part time teachers in January 2014 and July 2014 respectively.
Poonam was born in 1988 and grew up in Nainital, Uttarakhand. After completing her BA, she spent 4 years in the Mirambika Teacher Training program, at the Delhi Branch of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where the training is based on the integral education of Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Then for 18 months she was a volunteer teacher for tribal children in Kechla, Orissa.
She became a newcomer to Auroville in September 2014, along with her husband Rabindra, whom she met at Mirambika. She has a full time job at Centre Field Kindergarten and teaches Hindi five hours per week at Aikiyam, which is one hour to each of grades 4,5,6,7,8.
The children learn the sounds, which are not already familiar to them, to recognize the letters, and do reading games. Some of the children can also read and write a little. Some children need different ways to learn, so she uses more games with these children.
Last year she found it difficult to work with 24 children, so this year she has been joined 3 times per week by her husband, Rabindra, who takes half the students. Rabindra has also done the 4 year teacher training program at Mirambika, and 18 months as a volunteer teacher for tribal children in Orissa. He is presently teaching full time at Auroville’s Nandanam Kindergarten. Rabindra is from Orissa.
They are planning from August to give an extra class on Saturdays for those children from 7th and 8th standards, who really want to learn more Hindi. They like teaching at Aikiyam and appreciate the flexibility of Shankar.