Teach Children To Handle Failure

Padmini Sriraman|Principal, The Hindu Senior Secondary School
Padmini Sriraman has received the ‘Best Teacher’ award for three consecutive years. She is also the recipient of the ‘CBSE National Award’ from the Government of India, in 2012. She has authored academic textbooks and has also drafted articles for educational magazines. She has conducted workshops on various subjects across India and at Dubai and Doha



Congratulations on receiving the Best Principal Award by Gateway International School! As a recipient of many such awards, what or who motivated you to get into teaching

Thank you for your kind wishes. I believe that teaching is a great career for a lifelong learner. It was my school Principal who impressed me during my school days. I was her silent admirer. She was not only supportive, but always told me that I would do great things one day. She would advise us that no matter what job we chose, we could always make a difference which requires hard work and a positive attitude. She was such an inspiration that today I emulate all her principles and ideals in my career.
What is your ‘teaching mantra’?
The adaptability for change, creativity, uniqueness and work-hard attitude are the core mantra on which I have been working. In addition to expertise of the subject, compassion, dedication and sustainability will always remain as important ideals of the way I teach.
What is the most challenging part of being a principal?
The challenge is working with different groups of people. This includes administrators, teachers, support staff, students, parents, and community members. Each group requires me to approach them differently, but I enjoy the collaboration with all of them. This has helped shape my leadership qualities. Building and maintaining healthy relationships with the constituents of my school is a challenge. To be a principal of a school is demanding, but it is also rewarding. We must be diplomatic, tactful, hardworking, diligent, flexible, and creative to be successful principals.
What is your most satisfying teaching experience, so far?
One of the greatest things about teaching is seeing my students succeed. They come into the classroom with different strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds and beliefs about themselves. I look at it differently. I think all are intelligent in one field or the other, but it is a fact that they haven’t met the right teacher to reach their goal.
To take a student from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’ attitude is one of the most satisfying experience.
With your vast teaching experience, what according to you has changed in the education space from how it was 10 years ago?
There have been a lot of changes in the education system today. The impact of technology is a big boon for teaching. Today’s education focuses on student-centered system.  There is increased student engagement and collaboration, effective assessment techniques to assess student progress as often as once a week, more focus is now given to the special needs of students who are struggling with learning or having cognitive disabilities, language barriers, or other obstacles to learning.
Students can read from e-textbooks, look up for maps online, use the calculator on their tablets or computers, do their work on their laptops, and hand it in by email or through online forums.
Today’s teachers may no longer be required to write lessons on a physical chalkboard; instead they use online forums to share syllabi and classroom notes with students. Students, in turn, may learn lessons in a more hands-on way, through educational video. The teaching and learning has become more interactive now.
It is said that teachers play a more important role in the child’s education. What is your take on it?
Only teachers can develop nations and no one else. Almost all good leaders will agree that they have learned valuable organizational and personal development skills from teachers. They have used their creativity in the right direction. Some students excel, not because they are born great but because teachers shaped them to become what they are today. That’s why teachers are great human beings who know about the future of the students.
What are the key factors that lead to ‘parental satisfaction’ in schools?
Parents are the first educators of children and they continue to influence their children’s learning and development during the school years and beyond. Schools have an important role in helping the parents trust the schools which provides good education for their children’s future. Every parent will look for an excellent school for their ward which can provide a clean and safe environment. They expect the school to provide holistic growth of their children. They look for approachable teachers, a good classroom and above all affordable fee structure.
What according to you are a few important values that a school should impart to its students?
Education devoid of values will be detrimental to society in the long run. Values bring quality and meaning to life and give a person his identity and character. Children imbibe values all the time from their parents, teachers and peers. But it is also necessary that we deliberately teach them the values, right from their childhood. What they learn at this tender age stays with them throughout their life.
In today’s scenario, it is essential to teach children how to be compassionate and responsible individuals. The students are the future leaders hence we should develop individuals who are knowledgeable, positive thinkers, good communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers and balanced. My most important one is teaching children to handle failure.
As there is a growing concern regarding the safety of children in schools, what are the steps that institutions can adopt for child safety and, psychological and emotional health?
Child safety is the primary responsibility of each school. Schools must be extremely vigilant about who is permitted to enter the campus. Background verification of all employees should be done prior to recruitment. The school must ensure regular communication with parents to keep them assured of the child’s safety. Teachers should also be trained to identify signs of distress in a child and to respond to situations.
Safety to use electricity, clean drinking water, fire alarm, fire safety, mock drill for fire evacuation, good security, CCTV camera, good caring attendants, safe transport, cyber safety, hygienic environment, medical aid, first aid facility, special committee for checking the above and extending care and concern to the students have to be enforced.
What are the factors that define a teacher?
A teacher impacts the generation. He or she steps into this node profession, Knowing that it is highly responsible and demanding job.
The important factors for the profession growth of a teacher are-
  1. A good teacher is a very good learner.
  2. A good teacher must be motivated and be confident all the time to inspire the students. The teacher must update his or her knowledge to suit the present curriculum and teach the students effectively.
  3. The teacher must understand each child and see that no child is left behind.
  4. The teacher must adopt the best instructional strategies of teaching with effective time management and teaching aids.
  5. The teacher must be devoted or dedicated and committed towards his/her teaching profession with utmost involvement towards the growth of the child.
This article was originally published in TheTeacher.in magazine in the month of September, 2018.