Mr. Ajay Kumar Mishra, presently a PGT in Economics at Billabong High International School, Noida has associated himself with the teaching field throughout his life. He is working in the educational domain for the last 15 years. He is a man who not only gathered experiences from the educational sector but also the media and finance sector. He has a strong intention to help aspiring teachers and principals in their career advancement, taking a backseat himself and making an ideal school environment for everyone.
Question 1. Please let us know more about your journey, how and from where you started?
I started my career early at a very early stage when I passed class 10th in 1991. I started to teach juniors from my colony of 9th and 10th standard. With the progress of time, it becomes my passion as well as my mission. Over time I completed my Master's degree and started my teaching career with DAV Burari, Delhi. Along with teaching, as a student of economics, I tried different ventures in life from advertising agency to insurance agent. With time, I realized that I am made for only one thing in life, and that is teaching. Currently, I am associated with Billabong high international school Noida as PGT Economics.
Question 2. Being a Change-maker, how can you contribute towards the betterment of the community of Teachers and Principals?
As I mentioned earlier, I was associated with different ventures along with teaching in the journey of my life so far. Whatever wisdom I acquired; I love to share with my fellow educator. I believe experience in life is the best teacher. I would like to quote of A P J Abdul kalam "Your last mistake is your best teacher."
Question 3. What kind of support would you like to provide to teachers and fellow educators?
Answering their queries related to career advancement on Forum, mentoring and guiding fellow educators, organizing webinars or workshops for the community, and sharing your thoughts through a blog or write-ups.
Question 4. Please mention some of your skills that can help community members.
Motivator, Critical analytics, Aggregator of technology with conceptual teaching.
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?
The most important skill or character an educator require is to learn and unlearn. In the beginning, an individual thinks he/she has enough knowledge about the subject and take the task easily. But as they start interacting with the kids, they find it the most difficult task to satisfy the different queries of kids who belong to different strata of society. I also faced the same challenges in my journey as an educator. I overcame these challenges by interacting more and more with students informally. Education is the business of emotions.
Question 6. How would you describe your leadership style?
I always bring all stakeholders of my job at the same platform before taking any decision. I believe in guiding others for the task and then taking a backseat. Leaders are good enough only when their juniors and fellow persons are coming together.
Question 7. What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Prepare well before starting the session. Before starting each session, you must communicate with the students informally. Every individual has a unique style of communication but the best way of communication is to speak from your heart. Never copy or emulate others. With time, your style of communication becomes your strength. Since education is all about connecting emotionally with others, once you are connected emotions flow uninterrupted.
Question 8. What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?
An ideal school environment starts with four D. 1st D = Discipline. A most important feature of education is discipline. It starts from school timing, dress code, and following the protocol laid down for all teachers and students. 2nd D = Decorum. Every section of an institution must be following the same decorum from the colour of the wall to furniture. It must have different from all other schools in the locality. 3rd D=Display. One of the most important features of school education is a display of notice board. Every classroom must have a unique display made by students. The display board shows the vision of an educator. An educator shares their wisdom in the classroom teaching, but the display board reminds of guide the students always. 4th D=Discourse. It is well said what we discuss in the class today is the future matter of discussion in parliament. As an educator, we need to present challenges in the society for open discourse through debate, drama, and other modes of competition in school regularly.
Question 9. How would you develop an inclusive environment in your school?
A pupil will remember any subject or concept when they experience the same practically. Every student will be provided with an equal opportunity to participate in different activities of the school. Inclusion begins from the assembly when each class is given equal opportunity to participate in the respective activity of their choice. The next phase begins when activities are designed according to the choice of students. The job of an educator is not only to provide academic learning but also to develop an individual as a person of character.
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?
As the head of the family and extended family, an individual requires a calm and cool mind. As the day begins, suddenly, different challenges come on the table. As a smart thinker, jobs must be assigned to different job centres in advance. Therefore, I lay down my monthly plan in advance or through the annual planner. For routine work, coordinators are assigned their tasks through the monthly planner and then we have a regular discussion before leaving the office every day. I also conduct a workshop for the whole teaching staff every month and with senior secondary fortnightly. I also used to conduct seminars and workshops for my faculty by an eminent person in the field of education and from different sections of the society.
Question 11. What is your opinion on the use of technology in classrooms? Were there any challenges that you faced in integrating technology?
With the progress of time, technology becomes an integral part of our life. The most critical challenge which I faced is accepting the challenge to adapt by educators. Since technology makes the task easy but at the same time, it creates competition with the younger generation. Those who are in the business creates hurdles for newcomers. I solve this problem by conducting a bridge course for 15 days at our school by Microsoft.
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?
This is the area where I feel our education system has to work a lot. Before discussing the gap and their solution, I would like to present my views on its impact. In India, every year, more than one crore students graduate from school and college and increase the number of workforces. Now think about the demand for the labour force, which is also the same. Still, there is unemployment. From here begins exploitation and extortion by chronic capitalists by luring middle-class people on the name of skill training for a different job. In this process, millions of productive human years lost as well as hard-earned money. The primary area of lapses is non-coordination between industry and education course curriculum. For instance, if a person wants to be a banker than at a higher secondary level there must be an apprenticeship program for three to six months with leading banks and practical skills must have a weightage over the theory. Another gap is not giving importance to agriculture and local skills in the education system. I believe if India wants to be a superpower in the next few decades than we need to design our curriculum in such a manner that creates an entrepreneur at the village level. Every percentile increase in agricultural productivity supports two to three percent of industrial productivity.
Question 13. Would you like to share any specific message to the community of teachers and principals?
I would like to share only one message that teaching is an art of connecting emotionally with others. An educator always remains a student. In the beginning, they have to learn and then unlearn, and as principals, they have to create an atmosphere for others to do the same.
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