Our school teachers have a very special place in our hearts. Especially those who go the extra mile for their students. There are those that make learning fun by creating models out of bamboo, matchsticks, leaves, sand and paper. And also ones that help children open up about their mental wellbeing.
49-year-old Binodini Samal, who hails from Jaripal village (Odisha), is setting serious #TeacherGoals with her commitment and dedication to her job. She works at Rathiapal Primary School and educates children from class 1 to 3.
To reach the school, she has to cross the Sapua river every day which becomes an uphill task during the monsoon. But she never lets the neck-deep waters break her spirit or become an excuse to skip school.
She started this job as a Ganasikshyak (contractual teacher) in 2008 with a salary of Rs.1,700 per month. Hindustan Times quoted her saying,
“For me, work matters more than anything else. What would I do sitting at home.”
“I always keep a spare set of saree, petticoat and blouse in school almirah. While crossing the river, I keep my mobile phone and other necessary items in a plastic bag and keep it overhead while swimming through the river. I change into the school uniform of pink saree after reaching school all wet and soggy. I repeat the routine while going home. Even though I have fallen sick sometimes, I have never taken a day off.”
A few years back, there was a proposal to build a bridge across the river but work on it hasn’t started. Which is why crossing the river gets really dangerous sometimes. Binodini reveals,
“Two years ago, I was thrown off-balance by the river current and drifted away for some time until I found solid ground. That day my vanity bag was completely wet.”
Her family is quite concerned with her struggles but she says, “I don’t tell them about the risks I have to undertake.”
The sad part is that despite her efforts, her current salary is only Rs.7,000 per month. Her job should have been regularised after a tenure of 8 years in 2016 and her compensation bumped to Rs.27,000 but that hasn’t happened. We hope that the authorities take note of her hard work and reward her appropriately for being such an inspiration.