The success of any school depends on the ardent leadership of a dedicated principal, who would guide every student towards attaining glory in education. These principals also guide the teachers so that they grow professionally while educating the students with complete focus. They are the torchbearers of educational excellence, who nurture the students into decision-makers of tomorrow.
A celebrated principal who has directed GD Goenka Public School, Sector 10 A, Gurugram to achieve tremendous success is Archana Pandey. She has been associated with the school since October 2020. Ms Archana kick-started her professional journey many years ago when she became a teacher. She joined a CBSE school in Jalandhar, Punjab in 2001 as a PGT English teacher. She believes that teaching is a wonderful and exciting profession if you are passionate about nurturing and helping the leaders and thinkers of tomorrow. She believes in contributing towards nation-building and has been doing so for more than two decades.
Ms Archana always follows a friendly approach while interacting with the students. She believes in sharing and discussing the students’ personal as well as emotional problems as she firmly believes that teacher is a ‘second mother’ of the child. Ms Archana has worked in different positions in different schools and has gained a lot of experience.
Ms Archana opines, “I believe that if I can make a student smile, who feels he/she has nothing to smile about; if I can teach a lesson that elucidates a concept; then I have made an impact.” She further states, “If I can lift a child’s self-esteem and instill confidence in him; if I allow a child the chance to share his feelings, then, I feel I have made a difference.” “And as frustrating as teaching has become, this is the belief that has remained steadfast in my heart and mind, that I can still make a difference!” she expresses.
When she turns back to look at the journey of her career, the phase when she was just a teacher, is very close to her heart. She has also come to realize that with each position that she has held within the world of education, she has developed a different perspective towards things. This in turn helps her when it comes to decision making.
Ms Archana’s professional journey progressed gradually at a good pace. Owing to her performance and better outcomes, she was entrusted with the responsibility of Academic Coordinator. Her new role was full of challenges but with the support of her enthusiastic team of dedicated teachers, she was able to overcome those challenges and came out with flying colours. This boosted her morale to take up new roles and responsibilities. Hence, she was able to successfully implement the conducive learning environment resulting in academic excellence, best teaching practices, holistic development of students, and many more such initiatives which are being followed till date. Ms Archana always had a constant urge to ask what was next in-store. This eventually shifted her focus to the management level work. Over the years, she became an Academic Coordinator, then Vice-Principal, and finally she took over the role of principal.
Ms Archana is a firm believer in the quote by John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
An Inspirational Journey
Ms Archana always wanted to be a part of the education industry. She believed that the best way to make a difference in the children’s lives was to become a teacher. For her, it was like contributing in the development of the nation. She has always been grateful to her teachers and the educational system for making her the person that she is today.
“I only hope that I can make that same kind of positive impact on the minds and hearts of my students,” expresses Ms Archana. At every stage of her student life, she came across an inspirational personality who instilled in her the belief that she too can make a difference. Be it her English teacher in school or her professors in post-graduation, she received constant support from her mentors.
Her biggest inspiration to enter into the education industry has been her parents. Her father, a govt school lecturer always motivated her to take it up as a profession. Her mother, an IAS aspirant herself, encouraged her to enter this industry to bring changes in the lives of young learners. Moreover, it always excited Ms Archana to take up the task of developing young people into kind, thoughtful, and contributing adults. Additionally, entering the education industry also gave Ms Archana a chance to feed her own curiosity and work with like-minded people. “But most important of all, it gave me an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others,” shares Ms Archana.
A Skilled Professional
Ms Archana is a dedicated educator, who is focused on mastering her craft. She emphasizes on the development and well-being of the students. She always discusses about the course objectives, expectations, and homework policies with pupils.
While breaking classrooms down into smaller more manageable groups, Ms Archana focuses on teaching basic verb identification. She is not only flexible and adaptable, but her considerate and patient demeanour allows her to communicate effectively with the students both verbally and in writing.
Ms Archana enjoys working with children and young people. She possesses the ability to involve and inspire students from all levels. She can form quick and productive relationships with pupils and staff, and is able to stay calm in all situations. Her adaptability enables her to assimilate within a department and school quickly and effectively.
Being a seasoned professional, Ms Archana can use computer-assisted educational resources. She conducts research on new topic areas and maintains up-to-date subject knowledge which she also shares with the team.
Ms Archana is a committed and organised professional who is able to manage challenging situations. She is fully aware of diversity and cultural issues and possesses the ability to coordinate across all key stages.
Ensuring Overall Development of the Students
Ms Archana believes that the first step is always to treat every student with the utmost respect, regardless of background. Traditional school leadership styles force a deep dividing line between students and faculty, which she does not believe works in our current culture. When it comes to helping disadvantaged students, Ms Archana thinks that building a classroom based on principles of equality is the key. Disadvantaged students tend to struggle, depending on financial, family, and learning problems. “We put more focus on helping students catch up with the rest,” she shares.
Combating the Pandemic with a Brave Face
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in schools being shut all across the world. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
Life as we knew it changed. And this change became the new constant. Educational institutions have taken to online teaching. The start of this change felt rather very enticing for the students with not having to rush and get ready to reach the institutions and being in the comfort of their homes. However, online learning also had its shortcomings. Children experienced fatigue, headache, loss of interest in classes, deterioration in concentration levels, and so on.
To combat this issue, under the guidance of Ms Archana, GD Goenka Public School has taken up many necessary steps. It uses technology to help students by making learning more engaging and collaborative. Rather than memorizing facts, students learn by doing and through critical thinking. This is done by taking an interactive quiz in class or participating in tech-enabled group discussions. Smartphones are used so that teachers can quickly assess how students are grasping content—through answers to polls, quizzes, and drawing prompts.
Smartphones are used to create podcasts of lessons so students can access the content as needed. Posting homework assignments online is one way many teachers have begun to integrate technology in the classroom. Assignments are easily accessible, which can increase student engagement and help students become more organized.
Ms Archana believes that technology has enabled children to adjust to their own pace of learning. Students who need extra time now spend more time going over exercises until they understand, whilst students who need less support can continue ahead.
Ms Archana states that in the times to come, GD Goenka Public School, Sector 10 A, Gurugram will be a place where the students will evolve into risk takers, balanced, communicative, critical thinkers, and innovative and respectful individuals. She has been working to achieve this goal and she hopes to transform her objective into reality in the near future.