VOLUME IV CHAPTER VI
STEP-IN TO STEP-OUT PART II
TEACHING IS LIKE MOUNTAINEERING
During one summer the author was visiting several In-service Training Programs held for KVS Teachers. The Director of a Science course for classes 9 and 10 started off on a wonderful note. He referred to Tensing Norkay and Edmund Hillary who climbed Mt. Everest in 1952 and similar efforts by mountaineering on different mountains. He asked them to imagine themselves as mountaineers. How they are going to master a new route which they have not charted out in advance. How they would carefully scan the rock wall for holds, for opportunities that can give them good traction, how they have to be able to use their intuition to recognize the holds and how safe they are for them.
After this initial interesting discussion he said “Teaching is like mountain climbing. You have to find out the foot hold for each topic and each student-How to make it interesting and how to make him understand. Now in groups of six each I want you to find out the ways and means of making the 6 topics allocated to each group quite interesting and how to making learning a fun”.
At the end of the course the whole group had a rich haul of techniques to make all the topics Interesting. The Director “STEPPED IN” and the participants got “STEPPED UP”.
LOOK AROUND AND LEARN
A sub-staff at KV Coimbatore was assigned duty of bank work. One day, he came almost late and when asked replied “The clerk asked me to sit, I simply sat for an hour .It was very boring. The author told him”. You have missed a nice opportunity of becoming much cleverer than all the other sub-staff. He asked “Sir, How can I become clever by sitting in the bank “
The author told him “You must thank that clerk who gave you an opportunity to learn and enjoy your time in the bank. Instead of sitting you could walk around and see how the clerk in each counter does his work-Receiving money, disbursing money only after counting with the machine and in case of doubt again count manually. How each clerk talks to the customer? How the security man helps the customer. What work the sub-staff (like you) in the bank are doing, the locker room where the customers keep their valuables, and the strong room where the cash is kept. How much time it takes to deposit or receive cash , to get demand draft , formalities to open an account, how the passbooks are updated, how people make fixed deposits, ask the clearing clerk how clearing is done, how to get a gift cheque, the importance of checking your passbook once in a month, how people are careful or careless about their money at the counter ,the charges levied by the bank for each type of work that you can get done, if you want money to buy , build or repair a house what you should do. How you can get a loan for buying a fridge or a loan for your son’s education. Why group of ladies come and sit in the bank, how to draw cash from the ATM, how the manager is working and much more”.
The sub staff replied “I am sorry; I had wasted one precious hour. From tomorrow I will start looking and learning all these”. The author told him “I will give you 2 years time if you become very clever about all things related to the bank I will help you to become a Lower Division clerk since you have passed +2”.The Peon got “STEPPED UP”.
A MULTIDIMENSIONAL PRINCIPAL
There are good Principals and also great Principals. Good Principals run the routine and see that there is no problem of any sort from the students or staff or parents side – Good results, all regular activities going according to schedule .These Principals neither STEP-IN nor STEP-UP. They want to ensure the safety of their chair. But great Principals think about the future and plan forth. How to introduce a new program, a new project, or increase the number of science talent , culture talent or merit scholarship. How to get the maximum number of President Scout Guide Awards, how to get his school NCC troops to participate in the Republic day parade, how to develop the professional caliber of the staff , how to add more resources for the school, how to tap alumni support for the growth of the school, how to make the school a hub for interschool activities, how to prepare the students for various Olympics, how to get distinguished people to visit the school, how to collaborate with colleges of education and make the staff aware of the latest research findings, how to motivate the staff to undertake research, how to keep the staff happy and take care of their welfare.
With such a reason as their Principal the staff will surely feel ‘Stepped-Up’ .Everyday they will have several “Strike –Experiences”. The number of quality event or ‘Strikes’ in their daily experience span , Instead of the Quantum of steady state experience as advised by R.Suresh M.D Fantom Chase (Recruitment Agency).
YOU ARE ON HATCH 24/7
A Principal told the author: – In our recent conference one guest lecturer ‘Stepped-Up’ our fear and shock quotient by saying “Days are gone when you thought your boss will not know what you are doing. Now the world is flat. Technology has advanced so much, sitting in his room or home your boss can open a screen and see what you are working on Real Time and access the documents remotely your mobile, landline. All they can come to know why you gave a tender to one MR X, they can find out. Even if you have deleted some data they can recover it. Laptops provided to you will have ‘Trackers’ inbuilt within them, phones are given to you with software that acts as a two pronged weapon. It is a live bug at all times. He can tap into all incoming and outgoing SMSes conversations. Laptops have team-viewer software which enables remote location viewing .Sometimes Integrity is tested beyond the work place.
Siphoning funds, running computing business, buying assets for oneself in the company name, funding assets, lodging false expenses. All can be found through computer forensics. Purchase frauds, kickbacks, using institution money to buy personal assets. All can be found out now in no time and one can be nailed firmly and nicely.
Was this Stepping-up or Stepping-Down. By’Stepping-In’ that Guest speaker has done both.
CREATE THE AMBIENCE
In Industry, a new term has come into currency-viz; technology epiphanies- A name given by Prof.Roberto Verganti, the Politecnico Di Milano in an article titled, “Designing Breakthrough Products”, In the Harvard Business Review, October 2011.
This term means “A perception of the essential nature or meaning of something”. Philips electronics developed “Ambient experience for HealthCare” to reduce the anxiety experienced by patients when they undergo medical scans with computed topography”. Children find it difficult to lie still inside scanning devices and their movements affect the quality of the images produced. In the preparation room the child is shown a video of a character on the sea and asks the child to hold her breath when the character dives underwater to get a treasure. When the same image is projected during scanning it helps the child to hold her breath and lie still at the right moment.
This shows that “the level of the stress is greatly influenced by the environment in which the patient under goes the experience which includes not just the scan but also what happens before and after it. Like entering the hospital, locating the concerned department, waiting, going into the changing room, taking to the imaging room, going into the scanner, returning to the changing room”.
Can we create an ambient educational experience? Without knowing the name, Sri V.Narayanan, History teacher of Madras Christian College School created this ambient experienced way back in 1940’s for teaching every topic in the history syllabus. As we entered the history room we felt transported to that era about which we were going to learn. Everything displayed there related to that era.
In the International school at the Auorobindho Ashram Pondicherry, Dr.Gosh Head of the Science department and his young assistant who had a doctorate in Nuclear Physics created the topic relevant ambiance for every lesson.The author experienced this in May 1968.
Back in 1943, Sri K.V.Ramachandran, the author’s Geography teacher in the Hindu Theological High School created this ambient experience for every geography lesson in class IX.
In 1974, Sri K.Kolappan, Maths Teacher at KV Coimbatore created this ambient experience in every Math’s class. In 1982, Narendran, Science teacher at KV KASARAGOD provided this ambient in every Science class.
Dr.S.S.Rajagopal, Headmaster of Sarvajana High School, Coimbatore created this ambiance in his Math’s Lab.
When the author was Professor of Social Studies in the Teachers’ College of Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore, he had developed a Social Studies Lab in his department to create this ambiance. All those teachers were constantly examining and exploring how every aspect of the experience could be improved and how the environment could be modified to yield better results.
On all these cases when the students entered their classroom they felt ‘STEPPED-UP’.
A LITTLE GESTURE MAKES THE TRICK
The author had a practical experience of this Step-Up feeling at Ooty in 1986 May, at the Scouts and Guides Training camp. All the staff and students went on a visit to the Hindustan Photo Films factory. After the tour of the facilities, all were treated to a high tea in which Mr.P.S Rao,Chairman,and Managing Director of HPF ,the chairman of the local KV Management committee and the Heads of the sections attended. After tea the students and the staff moved towards the HPF buses waiting for them.The CMD’s car came and the chauffer opened the door for him. But Mr.P.S. Rao waved him aside and came with all the section Heads to the bus bay and shook hands with everyone of the KVS Group and waved both his hands till the buses were out of sight. Courtesy most unexpected and by that one simple gesture he made “all the students staff” Stepped-Up.
(Part III to be published on 18th Feb 2017
ONE WHO KNOWS
– DIMENSIONS OF A PRINCIPAL –
198) One who believes that process is more important than the solution.
199) One who has the quality of empathy to convert information into opportunities.
200) One who knows that unless he has the patience and strong desire of a devotee who stands for 18 hours in a queue for the Lord’s darshan, he can’t achieve anything.
201) One who welcomes suggestions from the junior staff.
202) One who is not easily satisfied, but seeks constant improvement in process and people.
203) One who is aware of the money-value of time and also can comprehend its essence.
204) One who defines and stays true to his values.
205) One who is never afraid to think big, set higher goals to attract like-minded people.
206) One who knows to invest in relationships and be grateful about these.
207) One who can commit all staff to a higher cause – so that all in his team can look back and feel having contributed to something creator in life than just earning.
208) One who creates his own destiny taking full responsibility for his actions.
209) One who has passion for his work, lives and breathes his school 24/7.
210) One who can create a space of his own.
211) One who knows that he can’t take his position for granted, that he should be alert and not slip into a dangerous zone of complacence.
212) One who can see tomorrow today.
213) One who gives you experiences without talking to you and enable you to get experience by his very presence.
214) One who is both a
Guiding angel – Show the way.
Guardian angel – Take you higher.
215) One who knows that he has to play in both clay and grass courts – deal with different kinds of people.
216) One who knows that as in surgery, in teaching also there is a cognitive task that is time critical and a physical task –
a. Thinking what to say
b. And saying that
That it is fantastic challenge – every moment of teaching 45 minutes.
That you understand the language of surgery by tracking the Doctor’s movements so also you understand the language of teaching by tracking the Teacher’s movements.
217) One who knows that sometimes only
– The destination matters – Varanasi – Results.
– The journey matters – Kerala coastal road trip – Learning process.
218) One who knows that power is the ability to get his way in contested situations.
219) One who knows that he should be observant about his surroundings as he is required to be, since blind-sightedness will lead to his downfall.
220) One who knows that he should take active change of his career, place himself in the right position when he has enough visibility and opportunity to do well
221) One who knows that he should get enough exposure to seniors.
222) One who knows that there are bumps and power plays that happen all the way and that the rules of the game.
223) One who knows that power chooses him and not vice versa, that he should not feel frustrated when he can’t use it as he likes, that the nature of power changes as he rises in rank and that the crown does not come free, but demands its price.
224) One who has learnt from the life of Alexander the great that he will be misunderstood and betrayed if he allows the rise of,
a. Distrust of his capability
b. Corrupting power of leadership
225) One who knows that he will have both obedient sheep and independent goats and like the Egyptian pharaohs. He has to hold two things in his hand:-
a. A shepherd’s crook ( to ensure obedience)
b. A flail of farmer ( to subdue opposition)
That he should not allow anyone, ( like Caesar) to challenge him as a goat.
226) One who will become the template for principles.
227) One who knows that the success will not be measured by his earning but by his long term contribution to society.
228) One who knows that he must become extraordinary in identifying and pursuing the right questions.
229) One who knows that his school must not be considered too big to grow and also should not be considered too complicated to grow.
230) One who thinks that he must be known as a “ Jadoo”- Magician – one who could do anything.
231) One who knows that when he takes over a new school he should see the staff,
Not as they were.
Not as they are.
But as they could become.
232) One who tries to make the children run to school and walk back home.
233) One who is not past focused but future oriented.
234) One who will never become next days news.
235) One who can sometimes be a “Tranquil stream” and sometimes a “ surging flood”.
236) One who believes that what he has is what has been given by him and is to be held in trust by him.
237) One who knows that while his institution’s time and the association’s time may differ, his time and teacher’s time shall be the same.
238) One who knows that he has not been promoted for performance but for his potential.
239) One who will always be a banana tree and never a banyan tree.
240) One who knows that he has to help people grow, has to think beyond his domain, think of the future.
241) One who constantly asks,
How can i make things simple for others and myself?
242) One who,
Is not a slave to routine.
Doesn’t live life in auto pilot mode.
Writes it on his heart that everyday is the best day in the year.
243) One who believes in everything that education stands for, has a commitment to develop the highest level of teaching skills and management expertise.
244) One who knows that his qualification should be a clear mark of integrity and professionalism.
245) One who knows that whatever he does should be truly professional and above board and that it is incumbent on him to secure a good name for teaching and public trust for the teacher.
246) One who is determined to raise the standards not for himself only but for himself.
(Whose ideas have been adapted for Education Management)
- Deepak Parekil ( HDPC)
- Roger Federer
- Jesus Christ
- Louis XIV
- Mohamed Ali
- Bobby Ascher
- Thomas Carlyle
- Colin Thabron
- Gabriel Chevalier
- Avery Wolf
- Jeaon Echenuz
- Sadhu Vaswani
- Sir Walter Raleigh
- Mulla Nasruddin
- Tom Pieres ( World no.1 Polo player)
Calm, concentrated, unshaken attention should be paid by those who teach and by those who learn.
-Sri Sathya Sai Baba
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