Principal Deepa Chandran
How did you feel on the first day being school Principal
My first day was very exciting, with a sustained feeling of endless possibilities. My main goal has always been to offer the best of myself. I was humbled by the responsibility that comes with being the Principal of Sabarigiri School and I couldn’t think of a more meaningful purpose than working for the development of the future generation.
Imagine starting your car at the beginning of a trip you’ve been planning for years: maps ready, tank full of gas, good people riding with you, tasty snacks, the open road in front of you. It would be impossible not to feel alive and grateful which is actually how I feel most days!
The best thing about being a teacher leader
Leadership is not about acting the part, but rather being your most authentic self to serve the organization and advance others, while avoiding the traps of self-promotion along the way.
I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘wearing the mask.’ As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from my team is to be 100 percent authentically me — open, having a clear vision, showing empathy and being a strong coach and always passionate about my work. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises.
What are the traits of an effective Principal
As the face and head of the school, they should be responsible for the education that each student under their care receives and they should set the tone of the school.
Great Principals should see solutions and not problems of the school; should be good listeners with a clear vision, vibrant, fair and consistent at all times.
The Principal should deploy plans that meet the needs, trends and demands of the future generation and be at par with the change; and adapt to that change without losing values and one’s own integrity.
Please describe the role you feel parents should play in the operation of the school
Parents are their children’s first teachers. It is from parents that children learn about their culture, values, and language. Parents play a very valuable role in their children’s education in and out of the classroom.
Parents should have a positive approach. If the triangle of parent, student, teachers is correlated, you can enjoy a harmony in the school and the students will always be filled with positive energy in every walk of their life.
When you visit a classroom, what are the first things you look for as signs that the classroom is an effective learning place
First my eyes are on the face of the child because from the child’s face you can evaluate how effective the teaching and learning process is.
I really believe that classrooms need to be learner focused where the students are given opportunity to raise questions and clear their doubts.
The classroom becomes an effective learning place when:
- The students do most of the talking and doing, prompted by the teacher’s questioning and guidance
- Innovative method of teaching is adopted
- Routines and procedures are evident
- Students know exactly what is expected of them
- The teacher is proactive
- Technology is used, thoughtfully, to enhance lessons and learning
- There is constant positive reinforcement
- There is constant teacher movement around the room
- Lessons are highly interactive, and students remain engaged in meaningful activities.
What is your vision of special education
I believe education is one of the most important tools a person can have in life. Every child deserves to receive the best education possible, regardless of special needs.
My vision is that every educator should accommodate, motivate and travel an extra mile to ensure that every differently-abled child is recognized and nurtured with utmost care that the child is in no way less rewarded than his peers.
What’s your view on e-learning
E-learning helps any type of learner, bringing the world to the finger-tips thus promoting multi tasking.
I think it will allow our students to have access to more learning and to develop into great analytical thinkers. The new generation of students need to do a lot of learning, and they prefer it online and on a device. Some of them do it because they care and some do it because it’s just cool.
How to make inclusion a reality
It has been proven that teachers’ positive attitude towards inclusion makes a huge difference in the child. The main stream teachers should also initiate and take up the challenge to equip themselves to cater to the needs of inclusion of special education as a part of professional development because they live in the society where the less fortunate child should get the same exposure as the other children and the other children also should know how to adjust, help and be empathetic to their peer group. In the curriculum of B.Ed this should be included.
The most touching things that school children have done to you
In the life of a principal you come across many touching situations of which one still remains fresh in my memory – this is an incident that took place two years ago. Due to some personal reason, I decided to take a break from the school I worked. I chose not to disclose the news to the teachers/students until the last minute. I decided to break the news at a programme where all students were assembled. The moment I said that I will not be in the school, all I could see and hear was the frozen faces and pin drop silence. Around 2,000 students were dumbstruck. They were completely stoic and took a few minutes to come back to their senses. Soon after, they all rushed to my cabin, and I could see children howling and without any inhibition or seeking my permission they hugged and kissed me and were echoing only one sentence ‘Mam, we need you here’. I was spellbound by their love and affection towards me. That was the most rewarding and most touching experience more than the feeling I had while receiving the award for being the best Principal.
Best / conference/seminar that you have attended
At IIM, Calicut
Your favorite book
Though there are many in my list, APJ Abdul Kalam’s Ignited Minds holds a special place in my heart; it’s a monumental compendium that unleashes the power within India. The book examines why, given all our skills, resources and talents, we, so obviously capable of being the best, settle so often for the worst. The Missile Man offers no formulaic prescription in ‘Ignited Minds’.
He tells us how there are several people in our country itself who can bring a lot of change to the nation but they’ll have to get ignited; ignited for the benefit of the nation; ignited for the improvement of not their own self, but for the whole group they are working with; ignited to prove to the world that we are competitive; ignited for working with the people who are ambitious like them; ignited for working with the people from different fields, because then a new creativity is ignited which brings changes.
What are the major qualities you seek in a new teacher
Good teachers teach but great teachers inspire! To be successful, a great teacher must have:
- Love for children
- Positive Attitude
- Strong communication skills
- Good classroom Management skills
- Above all Passion Is the Key
Passion for knowledge. Passion for teaching. Passion for kids.
One piece of advice that you want to give to new teachers
It is said that God created teachers to sculpt children into fine human beings. So be a good sculptor and carve them into jewels.
Aspiring teachers should be passionate, professional in dress, manner, and attitude.