Deepan K.S. has one rule he follows diligently. “I do everything without expecting anything in return for what I do,” he says. It is probably this selflessness that made him the recipient for the National Teacher Award this year. His work has been recognised by the public and the government.
When Mr. Deepan receives the award from the President of India on September 5 at New Delhi, he would be setting an example for a generation that ignores the environment. It will also be the greatest reward for a man who is upholding the message of preserving nature. The award is being given by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Mr. Deepan, a teacher at the Thrithalloor U.P. School in Thrissur, has had a long career. Rather than teaching the conventional way, Mr. Deepan has always tried to implement an educational system with a focus on the environment.
“When agriculture was introduced as a subject in formal education, students were asked to take up the subject. Even before programmes like Mathrubhumi Seed and others started, I began giving lessons on agriculture, out of my own interest. For the award, they have looked into my service for the past 10 years,” he says.
Mr. Deepan also has an interesting story on how he introduced the concept of protecting the environment to the students.
“The story is a little different. It all started in school itself, where you often encounter students who are a little naughty and are ‘troublemakers’. Such students are the inspiration behind my story. Rather than punishing such students, I decided to include them in agriculture. This way when they are involved in something else, they are kept busy and don’t waste time in creating trouble. These children don’t think of this as punishment and are eager to look after the plant,” he says.
Mr. Deepan has also started a club named ‘Jeevan Jeevante Jeevan’ at the school.
“Often, in our homes, we spend all our free time in front of the television, computer or using mobile phones. Children and parents do not have the time to bond with each other. In order to create a feeling of care and love, we started ‘Jeevan Jeevante Jeevan’ in our school. We bought a lamb and named it ‘Manikutty’. The students were given the responsibility of caring for the lamb. Students bring food for the lamb from home. In the evenings, the lamb is taken home by one of the students. When the lamb gives birth, the kids would be given to selected students. The process continues like that. The feeling of love and compassion is created through such programmes,” he says.
Mr. Deepan has also started a special squad in the school named ‘Green Police’ to protect the environment. Even the government has adopted this initiative with a new name. All of Mr. Deepan’s projects are aimed at making the students live in harmony with the environment.
Mr. Deepan, who passed out of the same school, has also won the Kerala State Teacher’s Award for 2014-15.
This school boasts of a ‘Haritha’ classroom which is made of bamboo, keeping it cool even in the summer. Students also cultivate vegetables in the surroundings of the school. There is also a medicinal forest on the premises.
Mr. Deepan has also started a project named ‘Snehapoorvam’ to help the children who do not have parents. The same project has been taken up by the government.
“Being involved in such activities makes me happy and I will continue doing them,” he adds.