Guruvani: Regional director of New Horizon Scholars School shares her mantra for success
What is the biggest professional challenge that you face?
The foremost endeavour on our priority list is to believe in the possibility and potential of every teacher and student and find a way in the right direction. The biggest challenge lies in our educational duties that involve overseeing the general educational demands of a school and staying aware of the changing laws. We must be aware of the best practices governing the special needs and mental health needs of students, while maintaining a safe and positive school culture where students can thrive.
Once a teacher, always a teacher. Do you agree?
I strongly second the above statement as a teacher will always motivate the students. A teacher is one such person whose memories remain imprinted in a child’s mind for life. A true teacher motivates and inspires even in his or her absence. Every child who comes to the threshold of our school is unique. As a teacher, you make the person realise that they have the potential needed to bring out the best in themselves. The journey of schooling and what students can learn from it is very much influenced by those who teach them and how they leave an impact. I too can’t forget my own teachers.
Success has become an obsession with people of all ages nowadays. Your comments.
Success today is not just limited to being good, but being good at everything. This notion that children are supposed to be good at absolutely everything they do is unbelievably wrong and damaging. To achieve something, you ought to dream and be obsessed with it. But that obsession should be such that you are level-headed and ready for initial hurdles. The pressure has manifested itself in a dramatic rise in teen mental health problems, increased incidences of cheating and pervading stress. In fact, the decline in free play in recent decades, brought on by factors such as increased screen time and emphasis on academics, has been linked with higher incidences of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression among children. I would advocate that the need of the hour is to build your life around a fulfilling desire and have time to do a few things you really love well.
What emphasis do you put on teacher training?
Effective teacher learning and professional development are important for students’ achievement. Teacher learning is a continuous process that promotes teaching skills and develops proficiency, which in turn helps improve students’ learning. A teacher should enhance herself every day and be abreast of the latest developments. At New Horizon Scholars School, we are of the opinion that teachers must train before they enter the classroom. They must also receive ongoing training even as they work in the classroom.
What in your view is Gen Next’s biggest strength? Which are the key areas of improvement?
Millennials and generation alpha [those born after 2010] are younger than smartphones, the iPad, 3D television, Instagram, and the popular music streaming apps. The students in our schools today are intelligent, independent and extremely capable. They are skilled with technology and comfortable with global and intercultural communication. We can expect that future generations are going to have even more assorted experiences in these areas. It is impossible to ascertain what people would need in the future. Instead of telling them what to know, the only way is to help students learn by themselves so that they can keep learning to adapt to the new environment. A 21st century education is about giving students the skills and concentrating on areas like moral values, tradition, emotional quotient, and mental well-being.
How can the elderly contribute to a student’s growth?
Elders will not replace teachers but help to strengthen the relationships between teachers, their students, parents and the community at large. Elderly involvement in educational programs substantially shapes their knowledge and experiences, reflects local needs and values, and supports life-long learning. Elders, at home or elsewhere, pass on knowledge inter-generationally through their wisdom and stories.
What according to you is the role of media in education?
Let’s face it: Media has changed the world. Media, in all aspects, is constantly growing and changing, facilitating educators to keep up with the times. It is important that teachers and students become what is called media literate. With the help of new media power, teachers will be able to offer students information from around the world at an even faster and easier rate. Schools are constantly looking for ways to enrich their curriculum for students and provide educational tools that will help them later in life.