Sri. T.S. Avinashilingam

In 1963, one day the author’s Mentor and Director, Sri. T.S. Avinashilingam called him and said “Hey, there is a demand for you from a big Swamiji from Thirupparaithurai. Swami Chidbhavanandhaji rang up this morning and told me “Avinashi, I remember you having spoken to me very high about your SEOTC Dy. Director Prof.Shanmugam. I have some problem with the Department. I don’t want to continue Teacher’s College after 1964 March. The earlier Principal had left sensing the situation. For this one year, please lend me Prof.Shanmugam’s services”. I told him “I can’t spare him because it is difficult for me to find a substitute for him here .You can find someone who is eager to get a higher post as Principal. Moreover, I don’t want Shanmugam to go there for bringing the flag down.”

Then Sri.Avinashilingam (Ayya AVL) gave the author a very useful advice “There are three usages in English – Step In, Step Up, Step Down. You may know that the last two are already used whenever you refer to a transformer. But I want you to practice the first two –before that you should first develop yourself, build yourself, equip yourself, grow in maturity and gain a stature.Then you have to do the ‘First’.

When you ‘Step into’ office in the morning, all staff should feel “stepped-up”with the feeling that they are going to have a wonderful day with you. When you ‘Step In’ to a class the student’s energy level must be ‘Stepped Up’ to enjoy another enlighten class. When you ‘Step In’ to a meeting hall, the spirit of the whole audience must get ‘Stepped Up’ that they are in for an exhilarating exposition. When you ‘Step Into’ a Conference ,when you rise to address, the delegates   must feel “Stepped-Up” to listen and learn some new concepts which they have not heard or known before, never should your presence or participation “Step-Down” the feeling of others and there by your image. You should always act as an energizer, elevator and escalator. See that you fill any place with your presence which should be looked forward to and welcomed. The author was fortunate to meet and move with such people in Kulapathi SRI S.Balakrishna Joshi, Sri.K.Kuruvilla Jacob, Sri S.Nataraj, Sri T.P.Srinivasa Varadam and Sri E.H.Parameshwaran.

Now, how can you make yourself as a Step up Transformer?

Abraham Lincoln said once: – “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

Abraham Lincoln

Remember this when you take over as Principal of a new school you should rise to the occasion. You are new so you must think new and act new. When you ‘Step In’ to a new school, you will find a procrustean situation (Greek Mythology-Present is good enough).You may hear “This is the way we have always done”. The author heard this in 1968, but he heard the same thing in 1971 and in 1977, but with a different tag “We don’t like it. We want a change“.

After “Stepping In” you should show that you have not come to be a “CARETAKER” .You must set the targets and standards by your example.

A fortnight after joining the KV Coimbatore, the author told the assembly “In the past fortnight I have met so many important people in Coimbatore who are my old friends. All of them say “We don’t know anything about your KV”.

We are like an Island, we must change this .Coimbatore should know what a great Institution KV is. Daily we should by our activities make the city know what a great force our KV is”.

You should define the institution –what it stands for. The author told the staff and students, “Go out and tell the people KV do not simply mean BLUE and WHITE uniform. Every KV student and staff stands for Knowledge, Value and Service.-Enriched knowledge, Permanent values and Selfless Service.

You should INSPIRE your staff and students. Your presence should infuse a sense of dynamism and imply purposeful action. You should exert a sort of magnetism. In any meeting of the European Union see how the atmosphere changed everytime when the German Chancellor Angelia Merkel walked in. She inspired everyone as the “HOPE” of the European Union. For all the staff you must represent the institution goals, vision and policy.

German Chancellor Angelia Merkel

You should act as an evangelist. You should spread the vision, you should profess, preach and practice a high level of ethical conduct. Discipline and hard work must be your two faces.

You should not allow several loose ends to linger on .Bring any activity to a logical conclusion soon. You should never profess what you don’t know. It is better to keep the mouth shut and make others think you are wise rather than open your mouth and let everyone know that you are a “ ‘6th’ letter of fifty.” accept your not having the information really and promise to get it soon.

The author used to have a board behind his chair above as read:-


Meaning “Think that I should not waste your time. I expect you also to think so about mine”. You should hire people better than you and get the best out of them. At the same time, learn from them also. Staff development is your sacred responsibility. Help each staff to move a step higher in the professional ladder. You should leave your imprint on every staff. In the 1960’s and 70’s other schools would seek teachers from the Hindu Theological High School to become the Headmaster of their schools , just because they were working with Kulapathi Sri S.Balakrishna Joshi, H.M of that school.

Kulapathi Sri S.Balakrishna Joshi

The author whenever he heard from the students in casual conversation that their H.M/Principals class is something they look forward to, then he made it a point to see such classes .Once he visited a Tamil class for STD XI ,which the Principal(M.A in Tamil) was taking. That day he saw an essay written by a student and said “ This kind of Yarn spinning , beating around the bush should not be found in your essay”.  The student said that as soon as his old H.M. enters the class they will all get ready to know some new usage like this. This is STEPPING UP.


The author was invited to hoist the Flag on Aug 15th, 1976 in a State Govt. aided school at Coimbatore. The H.M’s speech was very stimulating, he said,

“When the examination results are out, now it has become a fashion for students to commit suicide or run away from home. Let them go away from home. They should not go away with an ideal like Doraiswamy, he paused. All were wondering who this Doraiswamy was. Then he continued “Doraiswamy was a problem boy at home. One day an Englishman came to that village called ‘KALANGAL’ on a motorbike. Everyone saw that white man. But Doraiswamy saw only that bike. He wanted to ride that bike but couldn’t express his desire to the white man. He left the village, arrived at Coimbatore and joined a hotel as a cleaner. He worked in the hotel for 3 years, save Rs 400/- found out that English Surveyor’s address. He went to his house placed the Rs 400/- at his feet and expressed his desire. The Englishman appreciated his earnestness and gifted the bike to him. As if he has bought the whole world, Doraiswamy came out; he didn’t ride the bike but dismantled it part by part and learnt how it was built. It was this Doraiswamy who produced several engineers later. He was none other than our G.D.Naidu whose UMS factory is next door to our school. Take him as your hero, as your role model. I want many G.D. Naidu’s to come out of our school and make this country great.”

The students said “Everyday in the assembly, we get energized to the hilt when our H.M. finishes his speech. Everyday he is shaping us a little better”.-STEPPING UP!

In 1965, the author went to the East Coast side to see the Panchayat Union Primary School. He observed the Std. V Science class of H.M. Since fish was the main food in that area he told the children how they should select a fish before they buy. He added:-“The eyes of the fish should be clear as if they are seeing us. If they look faded it means they are rotten and when you press the fish, the fish portion should be hard. If it is fluffy or supple it means they have become bad. The flesh of the fish around its spinal cord should be white in color. If it is Red it is bad. You can see this red color when fish is cut into pieces. If you press your palm on a fish your rays of the palm should not be visible on its body.

The underbelly of a good fish will be hard. The fins of a fish should be red in color .If there is a change of color then it is a rotten fish. Anytime your mother goes to the market go with her and guide her to choose the right and good fish.

The students said, “Every class our HM spends the last 5 minutes to tell us something new, something useful”.


       A Major’s wife was working in the author’s school. She could easily start a conversation with anyone-High or Low in rank. She was genuinely interested in people and had a way of connecting with them easily and quickly through their own language.

Because of the nature of work, her husband was transferred.  The Army base is a closed community with people from different states all living together, so she picked up all the Indian languages, learnt to speak all of them so easily.She would speak to every student, staff and parents in his/her language.That “STEPPED UP” the other person’s interest and admiration.The discussion became quite free without any inhibitions .The author asked how she could manage all like this, she said:” I learnt it from Chinese and Turks.When my husband was posted to Egypt, I found that the Chinese locate the dolls used in the festivals of various countries, mass produce them with an attractive finish, sell at a price lower than that of the local produce and sell it speaking Egyptian. Similarly I found that in many countries I visited, I found Chinese doing same thing.

In Turkey eateries have started playing Arabic songs, employing Arabic speaking translators, as many Arabs from UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia have started coming as tourists in large numbers.

The author intervened and said: “I have seen the same thing at AMIRA KADAL Bridge pavement – a popular unofficial fish market of Srinagar. Similarly the Pandits at Rameshswaram and Banaras attract people with the language as the connecting link. Naturally you are ‘Stepped Up’ when you see a person talking to you in the same language.

Banaras Pandit

(Part II to be published on 11th Feb 2017




175) One who knows that leadership is ‘developing’ beyond skill training and supervising
an individual.

176) One who understands fully sage Pathanjali’s words that if a person lives for 12 years without telling a lie, his words will come true.

177) One who knows that the purpose of education is to teach and train the students to think intensively and to think critically.

178) One who knows that there is a super force inside him that guides and directs him to do every thing.

179) One who knows that “grave yard equality flattens and vineyard equality uplifts” .

180) One who knows that fulfilment is what he gets when he meets his own standards and has set them high.

181) One who accepts Hermina Banu’s statement that authenticity means saying the right thing at the right time what is opposite of what you normally think what authenticity is .

182) One who knows to find an invisible opening in the pupils mind which will help him to understand and use that to make the concept enter into his mind.

183) One who has three names :
a. Mohamed – One deserving praise
b. Alamin – One who can be trusted
c. Assadiq – One who is truthful

184) One who transforms himself into what he teaches.

185) One whose words connect to the child’s brain.

186) One who makes his school a “Chokkidhani” – A beautiful village full of joy and activity.

187) One who has learnt teaching as a science and practises it as an art.

188) One whose teaching focuses on creating a colourful montage at the end of the class.

189) One whose class is like a well crafted ashes century played from the crease rather than an ODI knock from outside it.

190) One who knows that teaching is not “ looking at” but “looking into” the student.

191) One who will make flowers blossom in the school garden and relationships blossom in the classroom.

192) One who believes that teaching is more experiential rather than descriptive or prescriptive.

193) One whose teaching makes the students not keep time but help them to forget time.

194) One who lets the students know that being in a state of doubt, atleast some of the time, is also essential for their growth and understanding and a mark of an active questioning mind.

195) One whose class will induce them to think and motivate them to achieve.

196) One who would be a presence absent in the imagination of his students.

197) One whose teaching will not come from him, but through him.



(Whose ideas have been adapted for Education Management)

Steve Jobs

  1. Rama Bija Purkar MGT. Consultant
  2. Govindarajan (artist)
  3. Oscar wilde
  4. Maitreya Dosh CMD –premier standard
  5. Count Anton – Head of Faber Castell Pencil Co
  6. Dalai Laka
  7. Edward Barnays
  8. Plato
  9. B. Shelly
  10. Steve Jobs
  11. Indira Gandhi
  12. Jayalalitha
  13. Lal Bahadur Sashtri
  14. Swami Vivekananda
  15. Lord Louis MountBatten
  16. Bishop Wallace
  17. S. Radhakrishnan
  18. B. Chavan
  19. Avvaiyar
  20. Waynee Rooney
  21. Arjun Singh – Air chief


The ideal of service and the urge to practice it form the very heart of education.

– Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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