TEACHING EXCELLENCE AWARDS…
Thank you very much for the kind invitation to address you on this auspicious occasion. May I also extend my congratulations to My fellow colleagues, learners who are recipients today. This day is a celebration and acknowledgment of your hard work and the support of the various role-plays in a student’s life. Such were my thoughts for The Progressive Teacher Conclave which was held at the FICCI Auditorium, on the 25th of April 2015. My colleague Ms. Anuttama Pandit and I were among the 35 nominees from all over India for the Teaching Excellence Awards Ceremony which took place in New Delhi.
A Journey of Excellence and Responsibility
I want you to imagine that we are all on a journey, and I want to say some words for you that you may find beneficial.
1. Always do your best
You have already achieved a lot of your academic potential. In this journey, however, you need sustained excellence, which is an entirely different thing.
You must have a sense of purpose and display a need to constantly seek to perform your best.
(S)He who stops striving to be better, stops being good
In our family my dad used to tell us and this became a family motto, that you can only be satisfied if you have done your best. If you are competing with someone and that person fared better than you, be satisfied to be second, only if you have done your best.
If you do your best, you will be more open to feedback, you would be goal oriented, you would seek to be unique, and strive to make a difference through sheer hard work, determination and perseverance.
2. There is no short-cut to success: Sacrifice
There is a saying that goes as follows: ‘There is no elevator to success – you will have to take the proverbial stairs one by one!’ In this journey you may need to take the gravel road!
With hard work and striving to achieve, you sometimes need to make some sacrifices.
3. You are responsible for your own destiny
The learner: I see the role of a learner and future student as the pilot of his/her own plane. You decide on your destination. Of course, your short-term destination is to do your best in the Grade X examination. Next year you will be treated as an adult. As an adult, you decide whether you want to attend lectures, you decide whether you are there only in body or with your mind as well, in other words, you decide how much you put in.
For parents the responsibility will not end when your children graduate from school. It remains your responsibility to guide them and to instil in them a sense of responsibility for their own learning. This thought came to me when I was sitting in the lounge of Chatrapatti Shivaji Airport terminus – I see the role of the parent or guardian as that of an air traffic controller. An air traffic controller does not fly the plane like the pilot, but plays a crucial role to ensure that the plane takes off and lands safely. The air traffic controller always needs to be on the alert to ensure that none of the other planes end up on another plane’s course. In short, an air traffic controller cannot be asleep and has to be wide awake to guide pilots to safety.
I know the price of success is dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.
4. Never forget where you come from
Put on your ‘trip metre’ when you embark on your journey so that you may know how far you have come, because it is only through acknowledging where one is from and what you have learnt that you will be able to appreciate what you have achieved.
5. Enjoy the journey and learn to ‘pause’/rest
We sometimes try to do all things for all the people – we cannot always do that. So sometimes, I take time out for myself.
I find that to have a good laugh, to see the humour in things and to not take myself too seriously help! Fortunately I come from a family that can see the humour in situations where other people sometimes do not see it. So I have learnt to share that humour with people who can take it.
We all know that teaching is hard work which is very exhausting. So at times a little diversion is necessary – it can be in the form of sports, reading, music, drama, etc. Make sure that you have some other interest where you can hone other skills that will be required later to complement your academic skills. While you are at it, make sure that you have time to pause, to reflect, just like you would make sure that you take a break in driving from Ganesh Kumar to Headmaster Ganesh Kumar!
I try to do what exceptional teachers do: do things differently! I hope that you will strive for sustained excellence, take responsibility for your destiny, be prepared to make sacrifices on the way, remember your starting point (where you come from) and take some breaks on the way!
Every journey has a destination and when one ends a new one begins. It is, therefore, important to pause while you are on this journey, because otherwise you may not recall how you got to a certain place. I conclude:
‘I have tried not to falter. I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.’