Archana Jha, an art and craft educator, has more that 20 years of experience to instruct diverse group of students, which helped her to develop her own way of instructional techniques and promote creativity in class.Her strong observation skills help her to assess each and every student of her class as an individual and enhance their personal skills on one to one basis. She also promotes her creativity, at various platforms on National and International Level.
Question 1. Please let us know more about your journey, how and from where you started?
I always had an interest in the art and craft field. Hence, I decided to make a career out of it. I started as an art teacher and gradually gained experience in it. I also did some exhibitions, both solo and group.
Question 2. Being a Change-maker, how can you contribute towards the betterment of the community of Teachers and Principals?
Being a teacher means being a part of change. A teacher's job is not only limited to teaching but also involves shaping a person's future. But still our society considers a teacher's job as insignificant. My goal is to change this perception of a teacher's job. The day our society starts appreciating a teacher's job is the day our education system will improve.
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., Sharing your thoughts through blog or write-ups.
Question 4. Please mention some of your skills that can help community members.
Craft is one of my skills through which i can help. Craft is useful in cottage industries where self help groups are involved.
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 is having the courage to come out of your comfort zone. When a person is in his comfort zone, he doesn't have to face any challenges. But once you come out of your comfort zone, your growth starts. Secondly, having good communication skills helps you in conveying your message as well as understanding what the other person is trying to tell. In the beginning of my career, my interpersonal skills were not upto the mark. But I worked on it and gradually it improved.
Question 6. How would you describe your leadership style?
A leader is someone who leads from the front and not someone who sits back and orders his subordinates to do all the work. Being assertive and firm is how i describe my leadership style.
Question 7. What advice would you give to a new teacher?
1) Should be adaptable to different situations. 2) Should be tech savvy. 3) Should be patient enough to understand the needs of every student. 4) Should be able to communicate effectively.
Question 8. What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?
An ideal school environment is one where teachers are able to participate in the decision making process. A healthy environment should be encouraged where everyone should feel wanted and appreciated.
Question 9. How would you develop an inclusive environment in your school?
A person in teaching profession should be able to fulfill his professional as well as personal needs. A proper trajectory should be charted out for teachers for their career growth. A balance must be maintained at all times between personal and professional life. There should be mid-career training courses for teacher in order to adapt themselves to changing environment.
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?
Time management is an essential skill which everyone should be well versed with. Proper utilisation of time means proper utilisation of resources. As a Principal, I'll maintain a proper communication channel with every stakeholder so as to cater to everyone's needs and provide effective solution.
Question 11. What is your opinion on the use of technology in classrooms? Were there any challenges that you faced in integrating technology?
Technology has surrounded our life in every way possible. Technology in education sector has been effective with the use of smart classrooms. Students are able to grasp the subject more effectively when they learn something by seeing. However, overdependence on technology is not healthy. There should be a mix of both tech driven and conventional methods of teaching. Whenever something new is tried out, there are challenges. However challenges doesn't mean that a person should stop trying. Change is the only constant. With growing times, the method of teaching should also be integrated with technology for proper deliverance of knowledge.
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?
No education system can be termed as perfect. There are, if not many, then a few flaws in every education system. This being said, flaws in any system helps us in understanding the limitations and thus, provide effective solution to overcome those limitations. As of now there are few gaps in our education system such as.
1) students focus more on scoring marks rather than grasping a concept. This leads to students mugging up rather than understanding.
2) every student is different and have different abilities. Scoring lesser marks is not a sign that the student is dumb. Hence, the system should be such that the Students are able to identify their strong points and work on them.
3) students should be able to focus on other areas such as art, craft, music etc and should be encouraged by teachers.
Question 13. Would you like to share any specific message to the community of teachers and principals?
There should be a healthy Communication between the teachers and the principal. The teachers should be given roles out of their comfort zone which will help in their personal growth.
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