by Akangchila Longchar - Dimapur, India

The concept that “Kindergarten teachers are always female” is a gender stereotype that a young male teacher at The Maple Tree School, Dimapur has defied. Imnawapang Changkiri has been working as a full-time kindergarten teacher for five years.

This young man has earned the love and admiration of many people over the years. He shared with us that when he first joined Maple Tree School, Dimapur he did not expect to teach lower classes. But the school authorities were very encouraging and asked him to give it a try. “I’m so glad I agreed. Because I found out that I really enjoy teaching little kids. This led me to take Nursery Teachers Training (NTT) at Capital College, Kohima,” he said.

Sharing his teaching approach, he said, “I’ve learnt that to teach kids, we need to first learn from them- learn their behavior and what is on their mind. Only after that we can start to teach them. Also, we have to make them happy first so that they are willing to learn.”

He admits that it’s not an easy job working with little kids every day. Teaching a class of 25 students, he said, “One definitely needs a lot of patience”. Being the only male teacher, he admits, “Yes, sometimes I’m conscious that I’m the only male teacher but then I tell myself that I’m doing what I love and that wins at the end”.

During the interview, Imnawapang said, “It’s not my achievement alone but by the grace of God, supportive authorities, and amazing colleagues. I’ve learnt so much from The Maple Tree School and love working here.”

Amongla Jamir, Teacher at The Maple Tree School proudly narrates how during a Gender Sensitivity training held for teachers, the trainers on hearing that there is a male kindergarten teacher requested Imnawapang to come and attend. They were so impressed on meeting him.

This young man is not only challenging gender stereotypes but is an inspiring teacher who is moulding the lives of many children.

Words from parents
A special thanks to Sir Wapang and all the amazing teachers of The Maple Tree School, for laying a strong foundation for our children. The beautiful transition of my daughter wouldn’t be possible without all your special efforts, concern and genuine love.

I’m so pleased to see the positive change my daughter has exhibited all this year. She is always eager to go to school each morning and enjoys all her classes, and I can only credit her happiness to you and all her teachers. I’m so confident that my daughter will continue to advance in her education and etiquette, learning a great deal from you. Thank you for continually inspiring my daughter to do her best.

On this special day, I wholeheartedly wish the best in all your future endeavor. May God Bless You. Happy Teachers Day.
Vibo Yeptho

My daughter Adora has truly blossomed over the past few months academically and socially. She is always eager to go to school and has a wonderful rapport with her teacher, Sir Wapang. He is very supportive and makes himself very accessible and it is completely apparent how much he cares for his students. He is devoted, caring and skilled at challenging each child to excel academically at their own pace.
Kaghali Chishi Sumi