‘Teacher should be lifelong learner’
What is the biggest professional challenge that you face in your role as a principal?
Being at the helm of an educational institution allows many opportunities to learn every day. And this brings along its share of joys as well as challenges. One of the biggest challenges that I face as a principal is to carry the burden of emotions, frustrations and demands of all the stakeholders of the school. The principal is held responsible for everything that happens in the school and outside it. I am expected to handle the instructional, emotional and social challenges of others and it is expected to be done pleasantly and without mistakes. This is a major responsibility as the physical, mental and emotional welfare of every child is not an easy task to manage.
Once a teacher, always a teacher. Do you agree?
Yes. A teacher plays a significant role in a student’s life. A teacher is a mentor, guide or philosopher for students. In the classroom, a teacher inspires students to seek more knowledge than merely grasping information. Outside the classroom, especially at home, the influence of the teacher is seen through the student’s behaviour. A teacher affects a student’s life for eternity.
Success has become an obsession with people of all ages nowadays. Your comments?
Success is a relative term; it differs from person to person. Success is not measured by the position one attains nor the money accumulated. Success is doing what you like and liking what you are doing. Gone are the days when children simply hankered after academics. The world is changing, opportunities are available in many other areas of life and the tried and tested route of engineering/medicine/commerce is now not the only option. Children and their parents have begun to understand that it is most important for a child to follow his area of interest and proceed to train for careers that complement their skill sets. Asking a fish to fly is hardly likely to yield results!
What emphasis do you put on teacher training?
A teacher should always be a life-long learner, ready and willing to absorb and adapt to situations. Emphasis on personal development along with professional development is the need of the hour. Teachers should be encouraged to enhance their emotional and happiness quotient and also that of the students. Teachers need to keep reinventing themselves to keep up with the fast-changing teaching environment in the classroom. Teachers not only need to keep updating their academic knowledge base but also need to update their skills to be well-equipped to handle all situations.
What is your view is GenNext’s biggest strength? Which are the key areas of improvement?
With this kind of fast-changing nature of the world around them, it always pleasantly surprises me to see GenNext dealing with the changing times around them with aplomb; it is their biggest strength. However, they should learn to still themselves and introspect in a more focused manner so that they can internalise lessons from all situations — both successes and failures. If impatience is under control, we will have a generation of balanced and happier children. Thus, parents need to step in here and ensure that children participate in as many opportunities, and learn to win or lose on their merit. This helps with learning time management and strengthens their emotional stability and character to face harsher realities of the world.
How can the elderly contribute to a student’s growth?
We must tap into the role the elderly play in our lives. Their grey hair is earned with the years of wisdom behind them. And while the world we live in today may be vastly different from their times, their basic understanding of human nature and what is of real importance in life cannot be substituted. Just an hour a week of listening to their stories may spark a new way of thinking in a child or help him hold on to the traditions and values of the past.
What according to you is the role of media in education?
The role of the media in education cannot be denied. While I strongly believe that overexposure is not desirable, it is important to keep pace with the way we learn things. Media and information are available to us 24x7 today and through a variety of avenues. While it is important to embrace this, it is equally important to set boundaries. Children learn not by listening to us but by watching us and will emulate us. We need to consciously learn to set boundaries for ourselves — and stick to them — so that children develop a healthy attitude towards the amount of time spent using media and social media. The right attitude to using media to enhance and supplement classroom learning is the most desired outcome and an invaluable tool to education in this digital age.