Not the smartest uniform or a state-of-the-art building, a good school is known by the teachers it employs. “Finding the right faculty is my prime challenge,” said Arvind Bhatia, principal, Bal Bharti Public School-Brij Vihar, Ghaziabad.
Indeed, besides subject qualifications, self-discipline and an openness towards training, which most principals said are musts for a teacher, the top three attributes they look for in potential candidates are: self-motivation and communication abilities, daily preparation, and the ability to break down concepts into simple language in the classroom.
“I want teachers by choice, not chance. Academic credentials are not everything,” said Jyoti Gupta, principal, Delhi Public School Ghaziabad. “It is very important for me how s/he starts a class and concludes it. A summing up of the lesson is essential.”
As with all institutions, the school is also an institution in which an attractive work culture attracts and keeps the best talent. Many schools also waive tuition fees of two children of a confirmed teacher and teachers said it is “one of the factors” that helps them decide where to teach.
Teachers, too, need a nurturing environment. Innovation and enthusiasm die in an environment that is not free. “The pay is important as well,” said Ravineet Kaur, a teacher at Uttam School for Girls, Ghaziabad. Sharmila Raheja, the school’s principal, addressed the pay issue straight: “We pay our teachers according to the Sixth Pay Commission… Without paying right, you cannot show respect for people. It’s not charity. You get the faculty you pay for.”
Is a teacher’s area of residence a factor in her employeability? Most principals said it is an important question (which teachers themselves resolve by moving closer to their workplace) but not a clincher.
Rupa Chakravarty, principal, Sun City World School, Gurgaon, however, is categorical: “A lot of energy goes in travelling, so all our teachers are Gurgaon-based,” she said.