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Teachers play multiple roles'

By Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent,

Monica Sharma, Principal, Pandit Mohan Lal SD Public School, Sector 32-C, Chandigarh

Your most interesting moment as the principal of PML SD Public School and biggest challenge?These days the biggest challenge is integrating technology and teaching. At times teachers are not tech-savvy, which creates a problem for students to develop interest in studies. With the advent of social media, adolescents are getting deviated from studies and their ambitions. What helps you identify a talented student or leadership material?We provide a welcoming environment to our students. We communicate frequently in a friendly manner by counselling them at every step and engaging them in various activities. This helps us recognise their qualities. We then guide them to hone their skills and give them an opportunity to lead. Do you believe students should be labelled ‘mediocre’ or ‘average’ ? In my opinion, labelling students as ‘mediocre’ or ‘average’ is not ethical. We believe in providing the right environment for the students to realise their skills so that they pass out with flying colours and polished personalities. Every year we come across students who perform remarkably in exams.What should schools do to stop students from indulging in substance abuse?Substance abuse is eating up the youth. The school can play a significant role by creating awareness among the students. A teacher can observe changes in the behaviour of the students and any abnormality can be brought to the notice of the parents. With the help of counsellors, the future of the students can be saved.One school community outreach project that you are proud of ?Our school adopts a nearby village every year. The students regularly help the underprivileged people of the area to maintain health and hygiene. Frequent awareness sessions on first aid and drug abuse are organised. Small basic amenities such as medicines, books, stationary and handwash are also taken care of. We also apprise the girls of self-defence techniques.Initiatives schools should take to help students develop an interest in science, mathematics, humanities or research?Science and technology is extremely important for sustainable development. Artificial Intelligence has been introduced to the curriculum for classes 6 to 10 and gradually would be introduced for primary classes. Steps are being taken to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching practices. Apart from that we find that substantial increase in arts educational experiences has remarkable impacts on student’s academic, social and emotional outcomes. We also include more of practical classes.At what age do youngsters start firming up career plans? What should schools do to encourage them to explore newer or off beat avenues?The youngsters make up their minds to pursue a specific career as soon as they enter adolescence and become aware of their surroundings. The school plays a very significant role by encouraging them to recognise their inner potential. A career guidance programme can be organised wherein career counsellors can guide students for various career prospects.Do teachers have to double up as counsellors for personal and academic advice to students? What are the most common complaints that you have addressed and how?Teachers play multifarious roles. They not only lead by examples but also are keen observers.They study the behaviour of the students and when they find anything suspicious, then delve deeper into the matter. They help and counsel students in personal matters. At times parents have high expectations from their children, but usually they end up having no time to guide or counsel them. In that case, the teacher addresses this issue with patience.Does your school have any unique programme for holistic development of students? If yes, please elaborate.The school practices a National Service Scheme (NSS) programme with an aim to sensitise the students about the problems of the underprivileged sections of the society. Students under this programme are informed about their rights and duties towards humanity. The NSS programme is also linked to the SLS (Society Legal Services) under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

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