VOLUME V – CHAPTER XXVI

WHAT U ARE AND WHAT U HAVE

ARE YOU PANDAVA’S KRISHNA OR KAURAVA’S KRISHNA?

 In Hinduism there are several gods. And also one over arching divine force. Each god has his/ her well defined role. One is in charge of creation; another of preservation; another of destruction; another of dispelling all obstacles; another fountain head of all knowledge; another a provider of wealth; another happiness; another for youthful vigour; another for beauty; another as treasurer; another as time keeper; another a model of devotion, another a role model of tactful management; another for the practice of ethics and dharma; These can be found in our heritage temples. In the rural area in our villages we have the village deity at the entrance to the village which is suppose to safe guard the person and property in the village.

            While apparently there are many divine forms, all act in unison and perfect coordination under the leadership of the supreme power, each carrying out the allotted duties punctiliously. Without any need for a remainder or supervision.

            So also the principal is like the supreme power. In big schools without thousands of students and hundreds of teachers with several campuses one rarely can have a look at him-very rarely, perhaps only when he comes on a visit or in a meeting- enshrined in a high pedestal and quite inaccessible. There may be section heads, pre primary, primary, secondary, higher secondary or wing incharge, heads of different activities, subject heads, finance officers, physical education director, arts and music director, director of maintenance services, public relation officer, examination incharge, time table incharge etc., each has the duties defined. Each reports to the principal at regular intervals.

            When a school is started the principal acts like a all in one (Ekanthapuram) station master – he issues the tickets, waves the flag, places the points on the line, rings the bell – so like that at the beginning the principal attend to every item of work looking after every requirement of the school. The whole school knew him and he knew the whole school. The radius was small so the circle was also small. Every one could approach him easily and freely. With their personal and professional problems. And he was there readily available to provide his shoulder on which they could lean for solace and comfort, or his hands was always ready for a warm shake or his mouth ready with a nice word when something was achieved,  however small or big it may by a student or a staff.

            But in course of time the school that was started in a thatched hut or a light roof shed grew beyond recognition – a huge student body. A large staff team, many multi-storeyed buildings spread over several acres.

            The irony is that the principal still wants to be in full control. He wants everything to be done with his knowledge – purchases, recruitment etc., he feels worried he has only 24 hours!

            So how can we help this poor principal? He has to be advised to divest his authority. He must learn to share it, create persons endowed with authority to do specific things, give them freedom to take decision, provide administrative support –  make himself felt rather than be seen.

            Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico controls the world wide operations. She allows the national, sectoral heads to plan and execute. At the same time she sees to it that they operate within the overall vision and mission statement of the company. She allows but she knows. She keeps her fingers on the pulse.

            The principal, likewise, should see that all the various heads work independently but within the schools philosophy and values. He will plan the strategy but will leave tactics to the heads. There may be diversity of approach and action but all functioning within the institutional unity on basic principles. He need not fear that this will create multiple power centres and Machiavellian manoeuvrings. While retaining over all control he should not erode their trust. Because that will cost the disappearance of loyalty. Without a loyal committed group you will find it very difficult to take the school to great heights.

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VOLUME V – CHAPTER XXVII

HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF YOUR FUTURE?

You go on working for 30 years. Then suddenly you realize that you have reached 60 and the day you complete 60 you have to retire no more going to school, no more monthly pay. With a college going son and a daughter to be married the future loan frightening. If you are a govt. Servant you will get only half a basic pay minus computation as your pension. You may get a lump sum computation amount, gratuity and earned leave encashment, your pension has become half. But your expenses suddenly can’t be halved over night. How to adjust expenses and how to manage the future commitments – This is the very big question looming large before most of the teachers.

            Even as we have to mentally adjust ourselves to a regular work less retired life we have to adjust ourselves financially also and this requires that we should start planning for retirement, for children’s education, their marriage etc right from the day after our marriage.

            The author remembers how much a Principal suffered because of his family”s profligacy that put him in external debt. He remembers money lenders waiting at school gate on the pay day. To snatch away his pay packet against the loan taken indebtedness was rampant those days which was either out of necessity or vanity. Some of the Hindi movies of the 60s, 70s, and 80s portrayed this very poignantly.

            To day the teacher’s salary is quite substantial but things aren’t better today. More money at an young age has led to a culture of spending and the advent of the pernicious credit card has induced an appetite and urge for spending without cash payment. This has become the big cause of indebtedness today.

            Even as staff development (professional) is an important responsibility of yours. You are equally responsible for their financial solvency also. You have to train them in personal finance management. The problem of excessive spending has become the giant killer of Gen.Y. and the onus of counselling for sound financial management rests with you.

            The staff must be made aware that they should not jump jobs for the sake of a few hundreds. That they have to plan well with their current salary.

            One Teacher told the Author, “When my father requested me for a loan to buy a house, their long term ambition, I was happy I could help him. But the same time it led me to think that he could have planned for this earlier. Because I am afraid whether my children would be so kind to me later. So I started setting the financial objectives”.

            “Many inspite of being aware of this Dire need, do not invest their time to learn and manage their finances properly. Many mistakenly equate tax planning with financial management” says Jawahar Karthikeyan, Financial consultant.

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ONE WHO KNOWS (VOL 5 – CHAPTER XXVI-XXVII)

– Dimensions of the Life and Work of a Principal –

574) One who knows that he has to make the students experience time and measure it (45 minutes).

575) One who knows that teaching is coming together of two wholes and two halves.

576) One who knows that the style of teaching has to suit the level of the class located in city,rural, village, defence campus, public sector undertaking campus –according to their background, tastes, habits , traditions.

577) One who knows that teaching should be an acutely psychological expression cross cutting the time and deep space staging in the student’s minds in which significant action should take place.

578) One who never mixes aspects of life that have intrinsic and instrumental value and that if he does so he will love money and use people instead of loving people and using money.

579) One who knows that he should not sell the school brand, but make it stand for something.

580) One who knows that he should make his job as one in which his soul is not sold to fame and chanting  ‘ Sir’ is not his mantra for success.

581) One whose height is not physical but the height of the heart and soul.

582) One who knows that even as the musician, in order to produce soulful music to touch the hearts, has to feel and experience the soul of music ( which can’t be taught) so also he has to personally experience the soul of teaching in order to give his students an experience of this kind.

583) One who knows when to teach and when not to teach, being silent.

584) One who knows that by reading 10 books he can become the 11th book.

585) One who knows that if all goes well, the management will pay itself on the back and if thins go wrong, the principal will be left holding the can!

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The Lord is closest to you. He is the Mother, Father, Teacher, Friend, Guide and Guardian. Call on Him and He responds immediately. From dawn to dusk, spend every minute in His company. That is the reason why I have directed that every Sathya Sai Organisation must arrange for Nagar Sankirtan in the pre-dawn Bhahmamuhurtham. It is a mission of Love and all will welcome it. It is a great act of social service to wake up people with the Name of God. It is a purifying pilgrimage, casting off anger and hate that infest the atmosphere. – Sathya Sai Baba