Category Archives: School Principal’s Desk

Parenting – Painful & Rewarding

Parenting refers to the process of raising a child from infancy to adulthood while supporting its physical, emotional, social & intellectual development.

After becoming proud parents, the next goal automatically is, to become better parents if not the best. Parenting these days has become a competitive sport and we see it being played out every day. From under parenting to overparenting and all the styles in-between, this tough job has not gotten any easier even with the myriad of books, research and online aids available.

So, let’s start with basics. Everyone makes mistakes and as parents, we do make mistakes and sometimes they are not the little ones. Guilt is natural and especially so with working mothers who have to balance work and home pressures every day. The key is to move on and seek help. More often than not, help is always there.

It’s important to understand that children have their own personalities and temperaments and we as parents provide an interface to the world which the child eventually will deal on its own terms. Our job is to prepare the child for independence in a rapidly changing world, so that they have the best chance at mastering its intricacies.

Treating a child like you expect to get treated in a professional working environment is a great start. Expectations are well communicated, achievements are rewarded, transgressions get reprimanded while maintaining a respectful environment where dialogue and discussions are encouraged. Remember, communication is the key to any healthy and successful relationship.

It is natural for every parent to expect their child to be the best in everything they do, be it academics, sports, art, music etc. But in our list of priorities, let’s not forget that respect, compassion, empathy should be the building blocks of the child’s personality.

Reading should always be encouraged, so that the child falls in love with this amazing habit & the quest for knowledge. Whenever possible let us replace gadgets with a book. Sports teaches us to be strong, to share and to lose gracefully, but it also helps us easily make friends.

At every age children pose new challenges, and parents who think that things get better with growing up, are in for a surprise. Teenagers at the cusp of adulthood tend to be complex to handle. With hormones playing havoc, academic and social pressures mounting, they can be quite rebellious. It really helps to think about our teenage years while dealing with children, because basics remain the same, with cosmetic changes in the environment. Connecting with teenagers is essential because they are easily influenced at this age. Access to social media must be controlled & monitored. Cutting it off entirely may not be the ideal solution. We must make sure that online friends are the physical ones too.

Discipline and purpose once inculcated during childhood will ensure that children become independent and assume responsibility for their actions sooner than others. But they must also know that parents, will support and love them unconditionally. This instills a confidence that helps recover, persist and pursue goals even in the face of setbacks and disappointment that life throws at them.

In conclusion, Parenting is a growing, continuous process and an enlightening experience, not a chore. It teaches us as much as we hope to teach. Smile, we turned out well and so will our children!

Inclusive Education

Learning Knows No Bounds
“Fairness is not giving everyone the same thing,
Fairness is giving each person what they need to succeed”

These days we hear a lot about the term inclusive education. Suddenly these alien concepts are the norm in our country and everyone is talking about it.

However, believe me, it is a good thing and this topic needs all the attention it can get.
So let us begin with the classic explanation.

“Inclusive education happens when children with and without disabilities participate and learn together in the same classes. Research shows that when a child with disabilities attends classes alongside peers who do not have disabilities, good things happen”.

Roots of inclusive education can be traced back to the 1950s in USA & Canada where reputed universities experimented with integration of students with severe disabilities pioneered by inclusion teachers, who believe in participatory learning, cooperative learning, and inclusive classrooms.

In India, though we have been approaching inclusion since quite some time, we have a lot to achieve. The society has come a long way from fear, negligence, pity & sympathy towards empathy.

Our constitution provides for education as the fundamental right to all children, but until the recent Right to Education Act, introduced in 2012 schools were at liberty whether or not to grant admission to students with special needs.

Government can make laws and provide infrastructure, but it all depends on the other stakeholders (Schools, Parents, and Teachers) on how we perceive inclusive education & our willingness to take it forward. Reluctance also stems from the fact that inclusive education is a guaranteed high return long-term investment but with very high premium in the short term.

It is not only important to provide infrastructure like ramps, toilets, accessibility to laboratories, playground, etc but also to identify and support children with learning and mental disabilities. Lack of flexibility in curriculum, affordability, being bullied in the class and not getting adequate attention from the teachers are other contributing factors, which stall inclusive education.

We must all understand that “All children can learn” but “All children learn differently” & Special education is not inclusive education.

The Inclusive Education Clause in the RTE Act is an important step in the right direction. It also helps regular kids. When they attend classes that reflect the similarities and differences of people in the real world, they learn to appreciate diversity.

So let us all strive to improve the status of inclusive education within our respective spheres of influence. What begins with a sense of responsibility & compassion culminates in a feeling of pride when the children reciprocate with joy & passion that make our efforts pale in comparison.

Emotional Intelligence – Key to Success?

Intelligence is more than we thought it was. We already know from our own experiences in the world that it takes more than just being smart or having a high IQ to be successful. We had already seen many a times, that our brightest students have failed to experience success in life which we would have predicted using our traditional methods of evaluation.
Research tells us that IQ contributes to only 20% of the factors that determine success while the remaining 80% is referred to as “EQ” or Emotional Intelligence.

So what is this Emotional Intelligence and how can it be developed?

While IQ is the measurement of the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, EQ is the capacity to know and manage one’s emotions, to channelize emotions in service of goals. It’s empathy and being able to recognize emotions in others and to effectively handle relationships.

Because of their connection to behavior, emotions impact every area of life: health, learning, achievement, and relationships. Managing feelings well and recognizing and responding effectively to the feelings of others enables children to lead happy and productive lives and to master habits of mind that contribute to personal and career success. We all, parents and educators, must nurture emotional intelligence in the same caring way we nurture IQ.

Most people are simply unaware of the implications and impact of emotions on health, learning, behavior and relationships. The research is rich with examples, but the end result is that people with more highly developed emotional competence have better health, do better at learning, exhibit behavior that is contributing and pro-social, and are able to establish more meaningful, longer lasting relationships. With all this standing in its favor the development of EQ is as important as the consideration of IQ particularly when its contribution to academic performance and intellectual growth are so vital.

Failure is not Bad

Everybody wants their child to do well……no doubt about it.

This is probably an instinct that goes all the way back to the Stone Age. I can imagine how proud the cave parents must have been, when they saw junior return from the hunt with the biggest rabbit. After all, he is a chip off the old block…right. So proud.

Parents live for their children’s success. And nowadays instead of rabbits it is games & music. The more, the better. Cricket team, Soccer club, Piano classes, Dance academy, Martial arts training, Tennis coaching, the list is endless.

Playing out of state, playing with older kids, and doing exceptionally well at school all add to the bonus points.

I think its all great, but we seem to have forgotten that winning is just half the process in any game. Winning is so overrated these days, that we cannot comprehend failure of our child. As terrible as it sounds, it is true.

failure is not that bad

Failing has such a bad reputation that we do not want to talk about it. It is really easy to find out the result of any game after it is over, by looking at the parents who drive back home with their children. The silence in the car is so thick; you could cut it with a knife. The message is clear, though no words are spoken, all the equipment, coaching, long hours…..down the drain.

I cannot imagine what the child must be going though at this point.

We seem to believe if our kids always succeed, they will always succeed. I continually see parents who are willing to do anything to make sure their child doesn’t fail.

The truth is, if we want our children to be successful, they have to know how to fail and how to respond to failure. Everyone is going to get knocked down sooner or later. My fear is too many of today’s kids won’t know how to get up.

Failure will make them strong; give them the attitude to respect success and the will to fight back again.

So its O.K. to fail. One day they will thank their parents for this important lesson.