“Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A word of optimism and hope. A “you can do it” when things are tough.” – Richard DeVos, founder of Amway.
I have been blessed with these positives in my life. I still remember the interview for my admission to the Bachelor of Education course in St. Xavier’s Institute of Education, Mumbai. My mother packed a lunch for me as it was a written test followed by an interview. When my name was called, I stood up but to my dismay found that the food had spilled and I was now sporting a gravy stain on my kurta. Embarrassed but left with no alternative, I attended my interview with the Principal and the senior teachers who happened to be a relaxed bunch of individuals and they made me feel comfortable from the word go. Needless to say, I got admitted and went on to be awarded ‘Best Student of the Year’, an honour shared with another student.
My career has been based on the maxim, ‘If you are a teacher, you should be able to teach any class!’ I didn’t realize that I would have to live it much sooner than expected. My parents decided to relocate to Goa in 1990. Naturally, the family followed too. At the time, Sharada Mandir School had no vacancies for a teacher except in Std. 1. I had taught Stds. 5 to 10 in St. Teresa’s High School in Girgaum, Mumbai, and wondered if I could teach 6 year olds. However, my experience with these little ones taught me the truth of the above maxim! I also learnt that I loved challenges. Memories of being pulled by the children, five on each hand, to the end of the playground because they had seen a snake and the fright of dealing with a nose bleed, toughened me and softened me at the same time. Looking back, I would never give up those 2 years I spent teaching and learning from my students.
Teaching in the Secondary section was a totally different experience. Here, the challenges of keeping abreast with new teaching methods as well as finding ways to maintain discipline took on a wholly new picture. The school’s extracurricular and co-curricular programs enriched students and teachers. Skills which would otherwise have stagnated were now oiled, greased and put to use for conducting assemblies, concerts, Club Activities, school exhibitions, Ekta get-togethers and school competitions. The outreach programs gave a completely new twist to the existing schedule.
Camaraderie between students and teachers and the confidence to communicate is what makes Sharada Mandir School, Miramar unique. These are the qualities I wish to see emulated in Sharada Mandir School, Kadamba. We are introducing a program called ‘uniQ’ which focuses on building each child into an able communicator, problem solver as well as an empathetic human being. Vedic Math, Coding along with Music, Yoga and Art will let students get a taste of every slice of life, so they have the ability to make life choices that would result in them becoming happy and fulfilled individuals. The school’s curriculum will include academic as well as creative aspects while being supported by co-curricular activities like poetry recitation, singing contests, spelling bees and traditional Indian sports along with various other sports disciplines.
Our staff members are qualified and experienced to fully carry out the school ethos. They are led by able Co-ordinators who have several years of experience. The team, led by me as their Principal, will endeavour to engage hearts, ignite curious minds and nurture confident happy young people. After all, the purpose of education is to nurture children into individuals who are conscious of their strengths and aware of how to use them to enhance not only themselves but also to give back to society and to those who are less privileged.
I subscribe to the Five Mantras of Suresh Prabhu, India’s Sherpa to the G7 and G20, which are Hard Work, Goal Setting, Goal Sharing, Achieving Targets and, above all, God at the centre of our accomplishments.