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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

‘Kids must be taught the value of failure’

A teacher is in the business of creating other professions... I started my career as a teacher, and the joy to see my students doing well is indescribable. Even as a principal, I still teach Biology and Math at my school.

mumbai Updated: Aug 13, 2019 12:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Padma Negi, principal, Billabong high international school, Andheri
Padma Negi, principal, Billabong high international school, Andheri
         

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

Regulating the influx of too much information is a big concern. The world has changed so drastically in the past decade, and everything that you can think of is available at the touch of a button. Knowledge is no longer captive in books and their ilk. The present generation functions on an entirely new operating system and the ones who are teaching them are like outdated software. Students today are more aware than we ever were, and they question freely. It is a challenge to retain their interest; ergo, we must continuously keep upgrading our skill set.

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

Absolutely! A teacher is in the business of creating other professions. Imagine teaching a class that could have a prospective chef, pilot, teacher, doctor, actor, author, engineer, blogger, and president. I started my career as a teacher, and the joy to see my students doing well is indescribable. Even as a principal, I still teach Biology and Math at my school. In my heart, I will always be a teacher first.

Success has become an obsession with people of all ages nowadays. Your comments? There is nothing wrong with aspiring to be successful, but what I find worrisome is underplaying failure. There is no success story in the world that wasn’t built on the foundation of rejection, loss, and disappointment. Failure teaches you to look for new alternatives and prods you to think out of the box in adversity. How are we going to teach our children to take the path less trodden if we don’t prepare them for the challenges on the way? Experiences, both good and bad, will be the stories they tell their offspring.

So, we must push them to get up and keep pursuing their goal, especially when they fall.

What emphasis do you put on teacher training?

A teacher is one who never stops learning. It is imperative that as educators, we are ahead of the game. The best way is to improve our skills and upgrade our subject proficiency. Keeping that at the forefront, at BHIS Andheri, we provide regular training and workshops for teachers for professional upkeep. Our exercises cover a broad spectrum of topics and offer equal opportunities for the entire faculty.

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

Gen Next is way more sorted than us. They don’t sweat the small stuff, are more accepting and are eager to explore new avenues. And with the advent of social media, they are willing to put themselves out there without the fear of being judged. What they need to work on is keeping their focus and being patient, for things to fall into place.

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

They can start by letting the reins a little loose. You can’t teach someone to drive by keeping your feet on the pedal and your hands on the steering wheel. We need to trust them enough to let them make their own mistakes and learn. In short, remember your childhood and help children navigate theirs, gently.

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

I remember, as a child, we were told to read English newspapers daily to improve our vocabulary. The news on TV would give us an insight into the world around us. Today, you can read a blog, listen to a podcast or watch a video about any topic that interests you. In that sense, the atlas has shrugged, but it also has become a playground for incorrect information, at times.

First Published: Aug 13, 2019 11:57 IST

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