Guruvani: ‘Success is the result of passion for work’
What is the biggest professional challenge that you face in your role as a principal?
In my opinion, a principal’s job is the most rewarding and demanding work. No two days are alike. Every day brings on the table new challenges, new issues and concerns. However, the biggest professional challenge is to keep pace with the rapidly changing scenario and demands of society. Standing at the threshold of a technology-driven world, it is our objective to apprise our children with the latest technologies, programmes and skills. For this, we constantly need to unlearn, relearn and reinvent ourselves. We ensure that our children get the latest in education and be future ready. At the same time, staying rooted to our ethos demands balancing the new and the old. In my opinion, this is the most challenging aspect of my job. Parental demands add to expectations from the position.
Once a teacher, always a teacher. Do you agree?
Without any doubt, I believe that once a teacher, always a teacher. To me, teaching and learning are interconnected so much so that each of us has something to learn from others and something to teach in return. Therefore, I consider myself a teacher and learner first, a principal later.
Success has become an obsession with people of all ages nowadays? Comment.
Success is a subjective idea and I have seen many associate it with milestones, possessions or experiences. However, I would like to see success as a continuous phenomenon that is beyond all defined parameters and is more inwards than outwards. For me, success is about pursuing perfection, not as a destination but as a journey. Therefore, success is about bettering my own performance and continuously moving towards excellence.
In our society where validation of our endeavours is of significance, people often become obsessed with success. It becomes the focal point of their life journey. It may have its inherent advantages but these advantages are, in my opinion, superficial and short-lived. Many youngsters pursue their careers focused on outward gains. But this race to success exhausts the runner. True success is something that comes from passion, not obsession.
What in your view is GenNext’s biggest strength? Which are the key areas of improvement?
The present generation is aptly called Gen Alpha, the first of the truly millennial. They are the most technology-supplied generation ever and with technology comes exposure and awareness. In my opinion GenNext’s biggest strength is their higher levels of awareness and their inherent ability to take risks. They are full of confidence and probably have all the tools to walk unchartered paths. However, they need to work on their interpersonal skills. Technology has empowered them with knowhow but it has alienated them from their immediate surroundings and people. Technology has created the generation that is “alone together,” virtually connected but physically alone. Therefore, their interpersonal skills need to be strengthened. Also, tolerance and value for money are other areas that need improvement.
Given the diverse needs of today’s youngsters, what emphasis do you put on teacher training?
The purpose of training is to tighten and polish. The importance of training can never be overstated. Teacher training, especially in areas like exposure to MOOCs, use of ICT and open education resources, imparting soft skills, classroom management, time management, dealing with adolescent issues should be a part of academic planning. All these concerns need to be addressed at regular intervals and teachers should be oriented so that the children get the best from their gurus.
With their vast experience and wisdom how can the elderly contribute to students’ all-round growth and development?
I believe that grandparents and elderly make the world a little softer, a little kinder and a little warmer. Indeed, the elderly are widely acknowledged as a repository of experience-based wisdom and unlimited love for one and all. They are our bridges to yesterday, the days that are otherwise lost to us. I also refer to them as cooling agents in families who dispel the heat. The elderly pass on to the GenNext the value system that is integral to our families, the stories of faith, little ways to healthy living. Above all, they play a role in character building of grandchildren. Those who don’t value them are the ones at loss.
What according to you is the role of media in education?
The power of media can be known from the saying, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Truly, media’s impact on the minds of people is deep rooted and enduring. It helps disseminate information quickly, spreads awareness and guides everyone about their duties and responsibilities. With the belief that mass media may substitute the real classroom in future, I recommend these tools. Their power lies in the ability to engage, motivate as well as to involve the students in contemplation and discussion. In fact, media can be a positive and an inspiring influence on teachers as well.
Tell us about your leisure activities and how you spend time with family and friends?
The life of a principal is like a whirlwind where the levels of engagement are multiple. This leaves little time for me. Whenever I get free time, I prefer to go for a long walk which is therapeutic. Also, I prefer to update my subject knowledge whenever I am travelling. At home, it’s all about family and conversations. As a family, we all bring our own experiences and observations to the table. Sometimes, I get brilliant insights on my professional challenges from my family members who aren’t from this profession. I also strive to take out some time for parents. Talking to them is a stress-buster and helps put things in perspective.
~Geeta Gangwani, principal, Bal Bharati Public School, Rohini