Seema Shaikh, principal, Pragnya Bodhini High School
Seema Shaikh, principal, Pragnya Bodhini High School

‘Enjoy the process, worry less of result’

This generation is quick at learning and has short-cuts for everything, and these are classic virtues.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON AUG 05, 2019 01:33 PM IST

Speaking about her challenges as a school principal, she says that the parents’ grade centric outlook over a learner-centric one causes teachers to lose sight of their goals. Talking about her role as a life-long teachers, she says that teaching is innate to her. She says teachers know how to deal with students as they know what their needs are. For her, success means enjoying the process and not getting worried about the end result. Talking on pedagogies, she says teachers need to be abreast with the new to teach the students. Talking about how intelligent the present generation is, she also adds that their emotion quotient needs to be worked upon.

What is the biggest professional challenge that you face in your role as a principal?

During open houses, when parents approach teachers and their first question is how much marks have their child obtained. It is sad to see that there are very few who ask questions like is my child an inquisitive learner or what kind of questions does my child ask, or is my child growing up to become a critical thinker and problem solver. This outlook of the parents may cause teachers to lose sight of the set goals, which is having a more learner-centric approach and not just grade-centric one.

Once a teacher, always a teacher. Do you agree?

I have been told this so many times, I can’t help it if it’s an innate skill. However, it’s funny how people have stereotyped teachers by saying that they are all in a lecture mode when it comes to the upbringing of children. In reality, we tend to look at things from the other side of the table since we deal with different kinds of children every day. So we just happen to know how they want to be dealt with better.

Success has become an obsession with people of all ages nowadays. Your comments.

For some, success is about how well they can manage their work-life balance, for some, it might be how many lives they have been able to transform, for others it may be about how high their happiness quotient is. As someone who has seen the focus of people turning from procurement of the intangible to giving importance to the tangible over the years, it is disappointing to see how success today is correlated to the designation one is at, or the fat pay package or the network of people you mingle with. According to me, success is more about enjoying the process than getting worried about the outcome.

What emphasis do you put on a teacher training?

If you teach today’s students the way you taught yesterday’s, you are robbing them of a better tomorrow. In my career of 36 years, I have seen the way generations have transcended. It will be foolish to cater to these evolved being with the pedagogies used 10 years back. To offer new to these fertile minds, it’s imperative that the teachers themselves are abreast with the new. Training has to be a continual professional development.

What in your view is GenNext’s biggest strength? Which are the key areas of improvement?

This generation is quick at learning and has short-cuts for everything, and these are classic virtues. They seek instant gratification and exactly know what they are working towards. They also know about the careers available that match their calibres. However, their minds have so much potential that sometimes, the path is lost. But they lack human proximity because of the close affinity to the virtual life that they have created. They carry a burden of maintaining an image. They are tech-savvy and high on their IQs, but their emotional quotient needs a lot work.

How can the elderly contribute to a student’s growth?

They certainly can add value to children’s growth. Elders are blessed with story-telling skills. They have lived the times that today’s children read in history chapters. How beautiful would it be if they can hear stories from people who have lived those times — how fun would be a human library for them?

What according to you is the role of media in education?

Apart from providing information, media are also a powerful tool that can alter and form opinions. We need to include social media, which is at the fingertips of even a 10-year-old, in the definition of media. It’s the job of the teacher’s creativity and imagination to integrate its use in an educational process.

This forum provides principals/teachers a chance to share their views on various subjects with students

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