Salute to the unsung heroes of our society – Teachers!

5th September – Teachers Day

Teachers are the cornerstone of a child’s development. A teacher offers inspiration and encouragement so that students achieve success inside and outside the classroom. When it comes to children with special needs, teachers must possess characteristics that help them deal with physical and cognitive disorders.

We met one such teacher ‘Mr Subodh Satardekar’ from the ‘Canossa Special School’, Mahim, Mumbai. He teaches children with special needs who deal with all kinds of learning disabilities like Down-syndrome, Cerebral palsy and others.

Subodbh believes that people with learning disabilities can do wonders if their mind is trained in the right direction. He believes in making them independent and self-reliant people who can contribute to the society and stand on their own feet.

At Canossa Special School where Subodh is teaching since the last 14 years, they plan separate goals and tasks for each child according to his/her IQ level and abilities. He says that special education teachers require several skills different from traditional educators. They play a vital role in the classroom and must work hard to maintain balance. The above traits are just a few characteristics that create an environment that works well for children with physical and emotional disabilities. When a teacher possesses these virtues, special needs students are sure to thrive. Subodh says, “What we do is a collaborative effort of the entire staff. The work I do is with great support from my co-teachers.”

An Engineering Graduate in Plastics from Mumbai abandoned his career in the Industrial field and set out to make a difference in the lives of special children. There are few like Subodh Satardekar who have found their calling in this noble field and teach special children as a life’s mission and not as a career choice for materialistic gains. He still remembers when he joined the school as an Art teacher unaware of the skills required due to lack of awareness of specialised teaching courses. A few days in he knew that this is where his heart belonged and that there was no turning back.

He says, “Often students with special needs withdraw or act negatively when they get confused or feel overwhelmed.” Subodh uses his intuitive skills to uncover the underlying reasons behind the poor behaviour or inability to learn with utmost patience and sensitivity. Today when he looks back at his journey, he feels joyful and content. He feels utmost delight when he meets his past students who still remember him even after a period of 5 years which he says is a remarkable thing since these kids suffer from acute memory problems.

He says with pride that many of his students are today employed in different sectors like house-keeping departments of hotels, shopping malls, and departmental stores. One student is working as a skilled employee in an Offset Printing company and many are studying for Graduation at Open Universities through Distance Learning courses.

Subodh smiles when he mentions, “Every year on Teachers Day the children make a wonderful attempt to show their appreciation to the teachers by decorating the classroom and performing various activities to make it a memorable day.”

His message for the youth of today is “Don’t wait for someone to reach-out to you, you can make a difference today. Believe me it’s very a satisfying experience”.