Principal Q&A

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Vijay Laxmi Singh

Birthday: 01 September
Hometown: Shimla
Place of birth: Shimla
Sun sign: Virgo

The Best Thing about being a Teacher :
I believe teaching is a chance to touch someone’s life in a positive way. It’s a journey of growth – as students grow, we grow, and the class as a whole grows. I challenge my students with high expectations and help them meet those expectations while enabling them to learn on their own in the future.

How did you feel on the first day being a School Principal/Leader?
The first day of school was wonderful. The mammoth responsibility that I was to shoulder was challenging. But I made sure that my decisions have a positive impact on my staff and students.

The Best Thing about being a Teacher-Leader:
Being a teacher-leader, I ensure improvement of student learning, promoting and supporting teacher leadership. Teachers need opportunities to break out of their isolation and have a vision of education excellence. By helping good teachers become great leaders, we plant seeds that will enhance our profession and provide high-quality education.

What are the traits of an effective Principal?
Being an effective principal is a balance between being rewarding and being challenging. It is a demanding profession.

  • Quality leadership, with a collective vision for school improvement and initiating change to spur innovation, ensure student learning, and increase achievement, is the most important trait of a school leader.
  • Great principals see solutions; they do not just focus on problems. They establish accountability measures to hold teachers and students accountable for learning. They try to find a common ground and earn their trust.
  • To establish a positive school culture by treating people the way they would like to be treated. They should be flexible, futuristic and realistic, and motivate change.
  • They should be good communicators, who listen, empathize, and connect with students, teachers, parents and the society.
  • Any effective principal is a character builder, with values such as trustworthiness, respect, and integrity.
  • A principal must be organized and prepared. Each day presents a unique set of challenges and these traits are essential to meeting those challenges.

Please describe the role you feel parents should play in the operation of the school:
The role of the stakeholders is very important for the overall development of the children. The active role of parents in their child’s learning provides a platform to work in coordination with the school for the best possible education and welfare of the children.

When you visit a classroom, what are the first things you look for as signs that the classroom is an effective learning place?
When the learners are engaged in meaningful communication, it leads to positive reinforcement in the classroom. If there is an atmosphere of trust and respect, we can say the learning is in process. The teacher is a facilitator leading students to achieve their goals for life. Teacher’s passion for teaching and for her subject is an important sign that makes the classroom an effective learning place. As teachers our task is to create the best conditions for learning. It takes a lot of hard work to create a safe, fun, and interesting classroom. A class will have all three, if the teacher has planned it well.

What is your vision of Special Education?
Special education should be dealt with great sensitivity. With the help of trained staff and special educators, students with identified disabilities should be encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities. PEC cards are very helpful in better retention of concepts. Remedial classroom support is helpful in monitoring of their grades and also their behaviour.

What is your view on Q C T?
Quality Circle Time (QCT) provides opportunities for children to take turns in speaking and listening, share ideas in a group activity, observing, thinking, concentrating. The children need to be taught values of teamspirit, leadership, problem-solving by involving them in the process of learning by doing, which helps to promote understanding.

What’s your view on CCE?
Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation focuses on continuity in evaluation along with behavioural outcomes. It has a positive impact on the personality of a child. Teachers can employ suitable remedial measures for enhancing the students’ learning. Our school has effective CCE system and a variety of assessment techniques are being used by the teachers to assess the progress of every child.

What’s your view on e-learning platform?
E-learning is a great resource and a tool that also serves as an extension of text books. It enhances classroom teaching by providing the audio and the visual aspect. This helps students to learn best by seeing rather than only learning or reading about it. Teachers can use video clips related to the lessons available on the internet and websites like YouTube to enhance learning. Flipped classrooms, video conferences are used by our teachers to allow students to interact with subject experts and their peer group through Tony Blair’s Face to Faith Foundation. Students write their experiences and share learning on blogs. Visuals always help in increased retention of the subject matter. Computers, tablets, iPads and smart boards create interactive classroom teaching that support e-learning.

How can you make inclusion a reality?
Inclusive education is an initiative to reach out to all learners. Creating a positive atmosphere and sensitizing other students towards students with disabilities in the school can make inclusion a reality. Bringing such children into the mainstream classroom allows them to move forward confidently in society, regardless of their ability level. Teachers need to be trained to handle such a sensitive issue. We believe in our school founder Sh. Girdhari Lal Salwan’s vision of ‘Education for all’ and to realize his dream our staff takes inclusive education seriously and treats it as inevitable.

The most touching things that school children have done for you:
I remember several occasions when my school children have done their best to come up to my expectations or rather I would say the school’s expectations. We had adopted an abandoned monument ‘Bhuli Bhatiyari Ka Mahal’. We had taken up cleanliness and plantation drive to revive the monument’s glory. The students worked passionately to save the national heritage. They went out of their way and involved their parents and even worked on weekends in this noble venture. We were able to restore the greenery of the monument and organised a mela which had an overwhelming response from the visitors.

Best conference/seminar that you have attended on education:
Attended 9th World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals from 6th July 2009 to 10th July 2009 organized by ICP in collaboration with the Singapore Government.

What are the major qualities you seek in a new teacher?
Passion to learn, unlearn and relearn, love children. The teacher should be able to excite the learners about learning through active involvement.

Your favourite Book :
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – An insightful book, a textbook-guide to effective living.