Renu Mishra is an educationist
with an experience of 24 years in the academic field. At present, she is associated with V.K. Patil International School. She started her journey as a science teacher in 1994 at Taramandal Road, G.K.P. In 2005, she became the principal of a renowned C.B.S.E school and in between those years she also worked for various other institutions of different boards which continuously escalated her career graph and provided her immense experience and knowledge. Through her academic journey, she has learned that good leadership requires a logical and innovative mindset with day-to-day changes in classroom teaching. Her approach to educate the pupils and motivate and support the teachers is dynamic. Being a perfect role model for other academicians, she would surely take the education system forward with her modern and effective approach.
Question 1.Please let us know more about your journey, how and from where you started?
Right from the beginning I have a passion for teaching. In 1994 from Central Academy, Taramandal Road, GKP. as a Science teacher. I worked in various institutions & different boards with continuous up-gradation (PGT Biology; HOD) and in 2005 I got an opportunity for the position of Principal
in one of the CBSE School and after that, I never turned up back.
Question 2. Being a Change-maker, how can you contribute towards the betterment of the community of Teachers and Principals?
By micro innovations, by sharing, discussions, analyzing, encouraging teachers
to identify themselves as leaders, train the teachers to build their empathy skills, think Creatively & work collaboratively to build the same in their students, By exchanging my unique skills & knowledge which we have gained over the years of experience, I can be a mentor and a good guide for the freshers. I will be always ready to conduct leadership training programs.
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, Sharing your thoughts through blogs or write-ups.
Question 4.Please mention some of your skills that can help community members.
Curriculum planning, program development, and teacher mentoring, time management, smart working, team management, target achieving, result-oriented, strategic planning.
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?
Being a leader one has to be innovative, logical inevery aspect, a very good communicator simultaneously a little bit diplomatic, should be well updated with day to day change in pedagogy methodologies as the teacher is stuck and restricted in its boundary. As a principal of any institution one has to cross that restricted boundary i.e. to think beyond that limit much more in a wide & vast. You have to upgrade your visionary skills. Just like a lesson plan, one has to prepare day to day planner and it should be implemented promptly. In my teaching
period, I was voluntarily involved in many activities of a school like training my junior colleagues & freshers which helped them to improve their teaching methodology, classroom management, planning their lesson plans, conducting practicals& various activities. My transition into a school principal was a little bit challenging as a teacher I had never come across the budgeting nor P & L, transportation management, Overall Board's result and many more, but under the guidance of senior principals, by attending workshops with a cool mind, keen interest and patience I sorted it out and very happy with this transition.
Question 6. How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe in working rather than describing. being ahead of the institution is very challenging. I do pre-planning of every work to analyze its positive and negative effects. To motivate and to boost up the moraleof my staff. I like to take an initiative in every day to day activity. To run any institute smoothly and to maintain the alma matter, one should work in a team as it's not a one-man show. I believe in ethics and a well-disciplined environment but it doesn't mean to scare the students. Simultaneously I do treat friendly also to crunch their thirst. I love to answer the queries of the students as they are in the growing stage; mentally as well as physically. To create a strong bonding with teaching & non-teaching staff I do conduct meetings from time to time to take their feedback, suggestions openly without any hesitation.
Question 7. What advice would you give to a new teacher?
A teacher is a role model for every student, he/she should be well versed in the respective subject, there should always be a smile on the face and should be self-confident. Start your first day by introducing with each other to make yourself as well as students comfortable, then start with few questions related to the topic which they have studied in their previous class to make a connection and to create interest. Be prepared with your topic very well in various ways, try to utilize the library more and more to enrich your knowledge. Take the help of Senior subject teachers to clear your doubts. Try to learn the new teaching methodologies and the main thing is there should be a spark, and curiosity of learning.
Question 8.What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?
Giving 100 percent result in Board Exams, maintaining discipline in the school premises and also having centrally AC classrooms, according to me is not the criteria of an ideal school, though they add an extra embodiment. An ideal school
environment as per me is to embrace that ideas of teaching and learning which are similar for all students, every student whether a girl or a boy should feel protective, safe and homely, it has learned teachers who teache their students as per their needs and requirements, it not only focuses on scholastics but equally on ethics, values, culture, empathy too to mold the students as a good citizen in future. An ideal school environment uses various assessment tools to assess the students as every child is unique and is blessed & equipped with special quality, it focuses on peer to peer interaction, regular discussions in the classroom related to the topic, an amalgamation and imbibement of teacher and student while performing various activities, either co-curricular or subjective. To build up such a kind of environment, My first preference is the selection of the staff who is keenly interested to adapt all the above features which are mentioned and willing to create the same environment in the classroom and premises, by Counselling students, parents and sometimes entire staff too, conducting various types of workshops for teachers as well as students, by performing various activities and of course through communication.
Question 9. How would you develop an inclusive environment in your school?
There are various strategies to develop an inclusive environment in my school- the very first important thing is our assumptions while addressing our students and staff should be of ground level, should not hurt anyone as every member of school belongs to different caste, religion, gender, and economic class. The language used should be easy for the students to understand, but effective. I always involve the student council to establish certain norms and rules so that it becomes easy to maintain the decorum of school. Time to time I conduct meeting with Head Boy and Head Girl and even class prefects to know their ideas and good suggestions are always welcome. I always prefer to give a chance to every student and staff to speak in the entire assembly. I always try to appreciate each school member for their little, little good efforts. I have been always fair with entire school members to maintain the prestige of the school. The curriculum of each n every grade is designed in such a way that it fulfills the requirement of every level of the student. I like to focus on core values and for this time to time, various activities are conducted in which I am also positively involved along with my staff. Yoga, meditation, philosophical thoughts are delivered. Various skits and live activities are conducted to aware our students about our ancient culture and thoughts.
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 job of a principal is not very easygoing as the entire day is very packed, you have to work a long-hours throughout the week and sometimes even on Sundays. So, I do believe in smart working rather than hard work. The very first important thing is to align the ultimate goal of the day with the actions and decisions which I have to take on that day. Then I prepare the list of day to day priorities and do rapid planning accordingly. I never attend my calls or messages vice versa at my workplace. Reading official mails, taking round, communicating to the students, reviewing at least 4 classes in a day is my priority. It helps me to see a variety of lessons across the grade and also provides immediate feedback. Reporting to management thrice a week either through mail or telephonic all is prescheduled. Pre-planning helps me to overcome my hectic schedule. Running a school is not a one-man show, so few of the work is assigned to the Vice-principal, coordinators too. I always determine my priorities to make my work feasible. I always prefer those commitments which are associated with the main target. For stress-free working, sometimes one has to say no to our chairperson. Concentrate on the preplanned schedule which is prepared for the day and be focused until the target is achieved. We are in the era of technology, so I like to handle paperwork only one time immediately I like to file up and don't allow the papers to stack up. I prefer to meet teachers in their classrooms with a small conversation which saves time. During the staff meeting, I like to focus only and only on key points and topics.
Question 11. What is your opinion on the use of technology in classrooms? Were there any challenges that you faced in integrating technology?
If I compare my school life with today now most of the school's classrooms have been evolved with a hi-tech environment. Implementation of technology
has brought a revolutionary change in thinking, behavior, and communication too. I have experienced that the kids don’t want to miss school a single day. They are comparatively much focused, motivated, they get additional information, they get lots of ideas to solve their worksheets in a precise manner. They find fun in learning. Nowadays the students are trying new things without embarrassment because technology access gives them a level of anonymity. It makes the subject much more interesting. When we talk about technology we mean by online learning, smart classes, educational app, etc. It's not very easy to mix technology in classrooms specifically in urban and rural areas. Most of the freshers are comfortable and prefer traditional teaching and don't want to come out from their comfort zone. Sometimes we lack the knowledge of the hardware as per our need. In the beginning, we didn't have a proper trainer and resource person to train the staff and from time to time as per the up-gradation of the technology the teacher also has to be upgraded for smooth teaching.
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?
Though there has been a lot of improvement in our education system. Everything has gone digital but our education system has not matched In ace of change worldwide. Our students do not get the actual subject or topic that they are looking for. A single specific traditional curriculum has been designed for every student as per their grade. Every student has a different level of interest and talent and we are teaching them the same syllabus in the same way. Every student has a different perception, the entire syllabus is almost theoretical compels the students to learn and memorize it, they are not given a chance to apply and be creative. our current education system poses a heavy massive deficit in the quality of education
in pre-primary to senior secondary level. We are providing stagnant education and various factors are responsible for it. To fill these gaps, the need of an hour is to revise the curriculum and include those topics which are related to passive income, booming sectors. The students should be allowed to choose subjects based on the skills of their interest. More training programs and counseling sessions for the teachers to improve the standard of education. Developing soft skills should be taught at the beginning of school education. Implementation of a few topics related to mental health and social health in the curriculum.
Question 13. Would you like to share any specific message to the community of teachers and principals?
We are in the education world which has a strong capacity to mold the future of kids and nations. We as a teacher should be equipped with strong classroom management skill, be focused on the students whether they are attentive, learning, absorbing and interested in the topic or not. Try to make your teaching more interesting by group discussions, peer to peer talk, self-evaluation and by conducting various activities. Try to bring variety and diversity to make learning significant. Being a Principal, you have to be visionary, you should be an excellent listener, you must be fair and consistent. should be a good leader, we should bridge builder.
Other Change Makers