Catering to needs of every child is crucial

This forum provides school principals/ teachers a chance to share their views and insights on a wide range of subjects with students.
Jasleen Kaur Sabharwal, principal, The New Public School, Sector 18, Chandigarh.(HT)
Jasleen Kaur Sabharwal, principal, The New Public School, Sector 18, Chandigarh.(HT)
Updated on Sep 09, 2019 12:53 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent

Your most interesting moment as the principal of The New Public School and biggest challenges.

I have been in the profession for over 21 years now. My most interesting moment remains the time I get to spend with students. I make sure that my interaction with them becomes an unforgettable learning experience for them. Challenges include doing lot of paper work, ensuring that teachers keep themselves updated, understanding the different social backgrounds of children and catering to them accordingly and ensuring safety of the children.

What helps you identify a talented student or leadership material?

The elements that help identify a talented student or leadership material are self confidence, humility, trustworthiness, authenticity, extraversion, assertiveness, enthusiasm, optimism and warmth.

Do you believe students should be labelled ‘mediocre’ or ‘average’? Have you come across a student who has excelled after being labelled as such and can you tell us about him or her?

I am strictly against the belief that a student should be labelled ‘medicore’ or ‘average’ as every child possesses unique qualities. Labelling them based on academics can discourage the students. The only element that works with a child is the bond of trust and respect.

What should schools do to stop students from indulging in substance abuse?

Stress, modern lifestyle, social violations are some of the major causes of substance abuse among students. Schools can make students aware of the terrible effects of substance abuse by organising anti-drug campaigns, compulsory substance abuse education in senior classes and promoting of healthy activities such as sports.

One school community outreach project that you are proud of.

Be it spreading awareness regarding voting rights by performing street plays in the neighborhood or distributing bookmarks at traffic lights, The New Public School has always taken the lead in serving the community. The National Service Scheme (NSS) Club of the school addressed the local communities on cleanliness with special focus on sustaining toilet usage and taking up waste management work. Students also distributed soap cakes to facilitate the implementation of the same. The school organises an inter-school painting competition on water conservation every year. Seminars to promote paper and plastic recycling and segregation of waste disposal are held to build a better society.

At what age do youngsters start firming up career plans? What should schools do to encourage them to explore newer or offbeat avenues ?

In this era of stiff competition, selecting a decent career path has become very important. Youngsters should be directed towards the thought process of career planning right from the age of 14 to 15 years. Schools and teachers play an important role. At New Public School, we often organise lectures of professionals and career experts to guide the students and apprise them of the career options available.

Do teachers have to double up as counsellors for personal and academic advice to students? What are the most common complaints that you have addressed and how?

The best teachers are often a combination of the two. As students spend most of their growing years in school, teachers have a significant role to play in shaping their personality. The most common complaints that we receive are of home sickness, low self-esteem, career choice and mood swings.

Does your school have any unique programme for all round holistic development of students? If yes, please elaborate.

The New Public School focuses on academics as well as co- curricular activities. We run skill-based clubs such as science, robotics, math, art and craft, home science, kindness, NCC, NSS, interact, peace, eco, dance and music to equip students with soft skills.

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