EducationWorld has introduced a new series, the ‘Eduleader Focus’ featuring interviews with principals of reputed educational institutions who are popular among their students and staff. In this edition of ‘Eduleader Focus‘, J.Bhuvaneswari, Director cum Principal of Presidency School, discusses the current state of education in India, about teacher welfare and her interests.
When you lead by example, you create a picture of what’s possible and make it easy for others to follow you, says the principal of Presidency School. With this motto and strong belief, J Bhuvaneswari, is a leading example in helping others see what lies ahead and rising to the challenges and achieving goals. With 30 plus years of experience as an educationist, she has worked in reputed educational institutions catering to different boards including International Baccalaureate, CBSE and ICSE.
Her skills, expertise and proficiencies make her an innovative, forward-thinking educator with a track record of success in turning around overall performances in school operations through strategic planning.
Here are the excerpts:
Schools have been shut for the past two years. What are the challenges that the school community is facing after reopening?
The students were used to online learning. There have been huge learning gaps. Writing skills have been badly affected. The students’ social skills needs thorough attention. Life skill classes need to be planned properly. Constant counseling must happen inside and outside the classrooms. Connecting effectively with parents will now become a huge challenge owing to the two-year-long gap.
What are the challenges of online teaching and how far has your school been able to deal with these challenges?
Students take online learning very lightly and with ease. Monitoring the attendance was a huge problem. Most of the students failed to take their own responsibility. They were not serious. The assessments went for a toss. 80 percent of the students copied during the exams and other work and the marks were inflated. Real teaching and learning did not reflect properly. Although we ensured that teaching is ‘continued’ yet ‘learning’ did not happen with the same energy. Peer learning did not happen.
The absence of physical interaction has had a toll on the emotional health of children. What steps has your school taken to ensure the mental well-being of its students?
We organise one-to-one counselling sessions for the students. Group discussions/activities are also planned at school. Sports activities have been increased. Music, Dance, Art, Yoga have been compulsorily made part of the curriculum. Teachers have been instructed to give importance to the 4Cs – critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.
If not a teacher you would be a ________?
I would want to become the chief operating officer of a good company. I still have a few appointment letters from many companies. I did not opt for the IT sector due to family commitments and my passion for teaching.
What is your philosophy of education?
My Philosophy of education is education for all. Every child is unique and special. Students are very energetic and positive. They create magic in your life. We must accept the students as they are and give respect to their ideas and values. Listen to them with love and care. Education does not only mean excellence in academics, it is more towards Life skills and overall development.
Describe your leadership style.
I am an innovative, forward-thinking educator with a track record of success in turning around overall performances in school operations through strategic planning.
My major strengths include strong leadership, excellent communication skills, competent, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, as well as supervisory and other administrative tasks.
What do you do to unwind/ destress yourself?
Walking and listening Music.
Also, I am passionate about all my events organised in my schools. They also help to de-stress myself.
If there was one thing you could change in India’s education system, what would it be?
I would love to change the fact that we give too much importance to marks. As I said, Education does not only mean academic excellence. Students must be given the opportunity to pursue whatever he/she likes
Can you give us an estimate of the learning loss children might have faced during the pandemic? How according to you can we make up for the learning loss?
Personally, I feel that it would take another three to five years to bridge the learning gap/learning loss. We need to understand and access the learning first. The curriculum should be planned to bridge the learning gap. Importance should be given to co-solstices subjects. Sports should be there in the regular syllabus.
Teachers have been under tremendous stress because of hybrid learning, unprecedented lockdowns, completion of syllabus, etc. As a leader, what is the manner in which you helped them out of it?
I tried to create a comfortable zone for them to share their feelings without any reservations or hesitations. We discussed all the issues day to day. Many teachers were emotionally disturbed. We all tried to create a comfortable circle where they could reach us for any discussion whether personal or professional.
Mention some of your Hobbies.
Listening to Music, engaging myself in Artwork, cooking, reading and travelling.Eduleader Focus