Sanam Sud Edwards: A Torchbearer, reforming the Modern Education
Sanam Sud
Sanam Sud Edwards

Malcolm X, a visionary American civil rights activist, and leader, once said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Indeed, solid foundations, transparent dialogue, and progressive policies in education are extremely important for any country’s future. As the world is still trying to wake up post the dreadful pandemic, we have witnessed drastic amends in the education sector already regarding the involvement of technology. However, following the unprecedented times, the education industry was also one of the worst-hit industries in the global financial market.

In such challenging times, where institutions are fighting to bring things back to normal, considerable thought also has to be put into fundamental advancements in education, and educators and policymakers at the grassroots level play a significant role in this process.

Sanam Sud Edwards is one such educator trying to push the boundaries and drive the wheels of change in a promising manner. In an exclusive interview with The Knowledge Review, Sanam Sud Edwards shares her inspiring journey and vision with our readers as IBPYP Facilitator at DPS International.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

Journey and Purpose

As a fighter pilot’s daughter, Sanam Edwards had moved all over India during her childhood. Her education was solely through government schools scattered in rural and urban areas. She states, “While shifting schools every two years was the pinnacle of youthful adventure, I was always left wondering what learning was like for other children who had a modicum of stability in their lives.” She developed a keen interest in the education sector as she wanted to learn more about technology in education and cutting-edge strategies of imparting knowledge to young learners. She adds, “However when I became a teacher at DPS International in Gurgaon, I quickly gleaned that I was not the one imparting wisdom at all! During my years of facilitating, I have observed that children have an innate capacity to be curious and learn new things.”

Analysing the Curious Mind of a Child

Sanam enjoys being a teacher following the International Baccalaureate, and she relishes watching the students questioning everything around them and evolving into independent beings in front of her eyes.

When asked about her inspiration to dive into the education sector, she responded, “My role models have been my parents, as they allowed me to grow independently while feeling nurtured, cared for but never stifled. I hope to be an educator that innately understands the capabilities of a child while encouraging them to be the best version of themselves.”
Mission, Vision, and a New Beginning

Sanam Edwards could see students and teachers struggling during the pandemic. She says, “Technology seemed to be a foe rather than a friend, and the future seemed bleak.”

Since she had always enjoyed using technology, she began a blog on her forays in the education sector in a pandemic world. At that time, her blog dealt primarily with navigating online education and the additional dilemmas that accompany a hybrid system. Soon, she began receiving inputs from educators around the globe who read her blog and became familiar with new apps, teachers could now understand how to add inquiry into learning at home, and even received queries on how to teach effectively from behind a screen.

Sanam says, “Since teachers are lifelong learners, I realized that they craved new techniques to instruct their students, wished for fresh insights on how to handle a post-COVID generation, and a chance to philosophize on the teaching profession, in general.”

Her articles on hard-hitting topics in the teaching profession were soon published in numerous education publications and opened the doorway to conversations on the progressiveness in Indian schooling. Her blog has blossomed into a conversation starter, a stepping stone to speaking engagements that touch upon hitherto unaddressed topics and a platform for others to share their work with the world.

Transforming Education Through Technology

Education became even more distant once the pandemic had hit, despite schools being just around the corner. While adults traverse lockdowns with renewed resolve, the ones who suffer have always been the children. According to SDG-4, there is a growing gap in teaching and learning.

Sanam says, “I think it is more so now because of the shift towards a hybrid system. Teachers strive to refill creative fuel while children struggle with social and emotional issues. It is important to remember that learning can always be fun, and it is up to us as educators to kindle a love of learning even from the comfort of home. I have made it my constant endeavour to share my successes and pitfalls through my blog to inspire others to try new things and add life into classrooms despite being online.”

Sanam Edwards firmly believes that the hybrid system is an opportunity to inculcate a love for technology and a sense of comfort while learning. In tough times like these, children have to be allowed a sense of belonging and love despite not being there in person. “The world has been through a pandemic, and yet technology has saved the day for the next generation! Imagine the plight of the young learners whose future could have been snatched from them had we not fallen back on technology!” Sanam adds.

Breaking the Barriers in Education

When asked about the biggest challenges faced by the educators, Sanam says, “Educator and student burnout are on the rise. While schooling has continued, we are still adapting to the fatigue of gazing at a screen for hours at a stretch. Many professionals are leaving the field as they feel this scenario is not what they signed up for when they became teachers. To them, I ask, “What about the children?” They did not sign up for this situation either. It is up to us to be pillars of strength and resilience for our students and each other. After all, this too shall pass, and we will be the ones picking up pieces of a broken generation and creating ‘Kintsugi’ with them.”

Turning Challenges into Opportunities

Sanam mentions ‘Kintsugi’ above as a metaphor, which is a Japanese technique of taking something broken and fixing it with gold to create something more beautiful than before. She adds, “Education was always meant to empower the youth, and this stands true during the worldwide pandemic. We have all been broken, yet we must rise above our hardships to be stronger than before. We are ‘Kintsugi’ works of art right now, just waiting for the gold lining to make us whole again.”

Her idea of something extraordinary coming out of the struggles is empowering.

Achievements and Recognition

For her exemplary work, Sanam Edwards has won the Leadz Teacher Awards for ‘Tech for Good Campaigner’ in May 2021. She has also been a part of national summits on education and SEL, and her last speaking engagement was on the NEP.

In addition to this, she frequently engages in interviews and podcasts to speak about changes in the schooling system. Her articles on education have been published by reputed magazines the world over.

 A Word of Advice

“I always advise future educators to understand that a teaching job is a ‘heart profession’. Unlike doctors or lawyers who barely see their clients twice a year, teachers’ jobs are built on the premise of loving relationships built on trust”, Sanam asserts.  She believes that the teaching profession comes with its own set of rewards and hindrances.

She adds, “Once a teacher, always a teacher! Be prepared for sleepless nights over a child who has no clue what is worrying you, constant self-reflection as you cross each hurdle, and a sense of accomplishment when you see the love you have for your students reflected right back at you.”

A Glimpse of the Future

Sanam Edwards hopes to continue building relationships within the classroom and take her knowledge to the outside world. She hopes to speak the words unsaid, bring to light the feelings repressed, and contribute to the development of our children today.

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