An Educationist with experience in leading schools, Top 50 Global teacher 2016 -17 [Varkey Foundation], #TeachSDGs Ambassador, Scientix Ambassador, Teacher Trainer, curriculum developer, a life long learner desiring to make a positive, constructive impact in the field of education.
Question 1.Please let us know more about your journey, how and from where you started?
I began my journey with the current school and worked for more than 7 years. When my son entered the school, I moved out as I believe mother and child should not be in the same school. I joined MET Rishikul Vidyalaya in 2009 and worked there for nearly 9 years in the capacity of Vice Principal & Principal. Moved back to C N.M. School when the Principal was retiring and am currently serving as a Principal.
Question 2. Being a Change-maker, how can you contribute towards the betterment of the community of Teachers and Principals?
As a teacher trainer and curriculum developer, I am consistently training other educators on best practices in education and sharing valuable resources to be used in the classroom. As a blogger and regular articles published on educational practices, I reach a wider audience wherein I place links of free MOOC courses for teachers and Principal to register.
Question 3. What kind of support would you like to provide to teachers and fellow educators?
Mentoring and guiding fellow educators., Organising webinars or workshop for community., Sharing your thoughts through blog or write-ups
Question 4.Please mention some of your skills that can help community members.
Teacher training and write- ups
Question 5.The transition from an individual contributor to a leadership role must have required specific skills, what skills do you think are critical for teachers for such transition? Were there any challenges as well, If yes then how did you overcome those challenges?
Most primarily is the skill to unlearn and relearn as every position requires you to broaden your horizon and think critically on the after effects of an action. As a young Principal in 2013, I took over a struggling school moving from ICSE to CAIE curriculum and to ensure that the guidance to teachers and students was streamlined, I underwent subject training and taught Physics and Chemistry at Checkpoint moving to IGCSE. When I received phenomenal results, both teachers and parents were convinced of my leadership and supported me.
Question 6. How would you describe your leadership style?
Participative style believing in team work and delegation. Every individual has their own skill set and we have to capitalize on that to achieve excellent results. Believe in their expertise and allow them to shine. At the same time, know everything around you as knowledge is power.
Question 7. What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Learn, learn and learn. Knowledge is growing by leaps and bounds and only if you are connected to current industry innovation and discoveries, will you be able to engage a group of highly technological, intelligent and driven students. Develop a relationship with your students and believe in them. Be their anchor and you will achieve milestones. Their love and devotion will take you places.
Question 8.What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?
Ideal environment is where students are asking deep questions and teachers are welcoming it. Decisions are driven by research and evidences promoting experimentation and experiential learning. Feedback is not a good or fair but highly elaborate and individual driven. Technology is used to the optimum to reach every type of student so that it is truly inclusive in nature. When every child is happy to come to school, every teacher is smiling and eager to enter the class, parents are supportive and Management is motivating, you have the perfect school as we humans are driven by feelings and emotions.
Question 9. How would you develop an inclusive environment in your school?
Train the teachers primarily on inclusive education so that they are empowered to handle every type of student and sensitive to the needs. Most important guide them not to label any child as it can damage them for life. Achieve support from the Management to appoint special educators to guide the students and parents appropriately. Hold regular workshops for parents to receive their support and cooperation for developing empathy within their wards for each other.
Tailor your curriculum to suit the needs of the students wherever possible as higher classes with board exams it is a challenge.
Consistently motivate your students as every one is unique and special.
Question 10.As the position of a Principal requires intense time management, how do you organize your day to meet the plethora of requirements and commitments required as the School Principal?
The well detailed planner plays a crucial role in outlining the events, timelines and requirements in advance and thus following it supports regular school execution seamlessly. Delegation of work at the beginning of the year with duty reports, regular meetings and updates supports execution. Moreover, giving specific timings for teachers, students and parents to meet you helps you plan in advance what is needed to be shared and communicated. Ex: in my school 2:00 to 3:00 pm Monday to Friday is meeting time for parents and I stick to it unless there are necessities. Similarly for others except for emergencies.
Sharing of work with your Vice Principal and Section Heads also helps as teachers and students are aware when to approach you and for what. Thus empowering your staff is the key to meet all requirements with regular meetings and reports.
My day to learn happens when I reach home and begin my studies. If you are not updated then neither will be your teachers. Currently I submitted my capstone for National Geographic Educators Certification course and am currently doing STEM course from New York Academy of Science. I Keep 1-2 hours daily for personal studies and keep noting down latest developments to share with the staff for regular workshops around the year.
Question 11. What is your opinion on the use of technology in classrooms? Were there any challenges that you faced in integrating technology?
Technology is a powerful tool if you wish to reach a larger audience, build their skills for the future and keep growing. We use technology in all our classroom through interactive boards with internet facilities and school portal.
Integrating it within the classroom wasn't a challenge but training teachers to use it is. A shift in mindset is required and we have to make the older teachers believe they are capable of learning it. Thus helping people overcome their egos and make them comfortable is the only challenge most people encounter. Fortunately with the agent of smart phones, everyone is quite techno savvy, only skills need to be transferred.
Question 12.Do you feel there are any gaps in the present education system? If so, how do you feel one can fill those gaps?
Currently there are huge gaps in the system. The World Economic Forum says that 65%of students entering primary school will end up in complete new jobs but is our Education system ready for this change. Today, industries are moving at a rapid pace where knowledge is doubling every day and our teachers are using the same textbook year after year with few revisions. We need to prepare for the 4th Industrial revolution and the only solution is to connect with the industries. Our teachers need to get mentored by industry experts so that they share relevant information with the students. Our students need to go for internships so that they are preparing to develop their skills.
I have completed two researches on this
1. Teacher industry mentorship wherein the teacher teaching about the eye connected with the eye surgeon and saw some live operations and asked questions on the concept. In class she was able to share more pertinent information and live examples and students are excited.
2. Student industry mentorship - students learn vernier calliper in physics but do not know it's relevance. A medical industry experts spoke to the students on how they use vernier calliper to develop their surgical instruments and how every unit mattered and they connected to the instruments.
We need more projects based learning, more real life examples and more internships for students and teachers to fill the gaps.
Question 13. Would you like to share any specific message to the community of teachers and principals?
Be a learner and keep sharing the knowledge so that we can educate every child either formally or informally. Today social media is a powerful tool, use it to reach larger audience and make a difference. The world needs dedicated educators who can be changemakers.
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