Education and experience are the two elements that draw the roadmap of one’s career. Students in this modern age are getting to the point of education that will help them extensively to make a better future. However, it is the responsibility of a teacher to impart guidance drawing from their experience.
Looking at the changing nature of the education space in India, several educationists have changed their teaching style to indulge and convey their experiences with the children from their teachings.
Addressing the unique needs of the industries and for the complete development of the children, educators in India are effectively transforming the modern educational space.
One such educator who has enhanced the education space with her incredible leadership and making her experience yield significant changes in her students’ lives is Mrs. Agnes Davies, MA, MPhil, BEd, the Director Academics and Principal of Sherwood High, Bangalore.
Along with her incredible leadership skills, she has also brought a rich traveling experience and discipline that she inherited from her father in her school’s eco-system.
The Conviction and Early Progression
Mrs. Agnes Davies says, “My life has swayed from the pandemonium of classrooms, the rough and ready routine of an Army home, and the exotic bucket list of a traveller. It may seem like a jig-saw puzzle as they appear not to have anything in common at all. Luckily for me somewhere, somehow it has all fallen in place. “With a Naval Officer father and an Armoured Corps husband, she has seen a lot of cantonments, heard the bugles, and packed their suitcases every two years. Her home moved from the seascapes to mountains and quaint little places with unfamiliar names!”
“It has given me friends across boundaries, a pan India outlook, and a love for nature. The Educationist is in my DNA with a ‘can do’ attitude to nurture students. I unwind by trotting off around the globe to wander through the unknown and wonder at the beauty of nature,” she adds.
Mrs. Agnes began her career as a college lecturer in 1982. Due to the Army postings, she moved around India, working in several institutions. A professional milestone came when she was selected to be part of the Australia-India educational program organized by Australian
Education International May-Jun 2008. She gained an in-depth understanding of their curriculum, school practices, and assessments. She visited five schools in Australia and gave presentations on various topics.
Her Educational visit to Malta organized by the University of Malta for Heads of selected schools from Delhi in 2010 was another milestone. She gained insights into pathways and attended Edward Bono’s workshop on ‘Six Thinking Hats’.
But the turning point in Mrs. Agnes Davies’s career came in as she was appointed as the Principal of Loreto Convent, Delhi. She says, “My long innings at the global chain of Loreto Institutions were professionally enriching. During my 13 years, I am fortunate to have imbibed the holistic value systems and exceptional ethos of Loreto.”
Presently, she is the Director Academics and Principal of Sherwood High since 14 Feb 2015. Sherwood High is one of the Best ICSE Schools in South Bangalore and puts the child at the core of all activities. It was recently honored by Education Today (India School Merit Awards 2021-22) with a Trophy & Certificate of Excellence for Psychological Well Being of Students.
Role Model and Inspiration
Mrs. Agnes says, “My father encouraged me to step into education service. If it is viewed as service and not a job, you can reach out to many individuals and make a difference in their lives. “She believes that the actions of the educators could become the stepping-stones to form and transform that would help them contribute to society.
She adds, “My father believed that our value system defines us and not the rat race which we see in the society. We read so much about the ideas and lives of great people, and it impacts our mindsets. It was always about values you cherish, attitudes you hold in esteem, and a sense of honor. As Tennyson’s musings are echoed by Ulysses, I am a part of all that I have met; Yet”All experience is an arch where through gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move.” Hence I didn’t have one role model but several.
Sherwood High and its Vision
Sherwood High is rated amongst the best schools in South Bangalore. Mrs Agnes recalls, “In June 2010, the Board Members of the Emmar Trust (Regd) had the vision of creating an institution that was Indian at heart, nurturing ideal Indian citizens, inculcating universal values with a global outlook. “Recently awarded for the Best Academic infrastructure and scholastic environment, Sherwood High has created a home away from home for its students.
The school’s motto- ‘Learn-Lead-Succeed’ aptly emphasizes intellectual dynamism, academic vigour, and promotion of Sports, Societal and Environmental concerns through a harmonious blend of mental, physical and spiritual faculties to lead and succeed. We provide the stable bedrock that ignites the spark within the child and nurtures its students.
Aiming to equalize opportunities, Sherwood High provides free ships and scholarships to deserving students.
Outlook of Sherwood High
Mrs Agnes believes in encouraging the teachers to embrace new teaching strategies that engage students’ attention and integrate the text book with life outside the classroom. She says, “I would like to inculcate a strong sense of societal & environmental concerns in the student. I would align the curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities to what students will experience as global citizens.”
At Sherwood High, the students are encouraged to express themselves and speak freely. Mrs. Agnes asserts that the students should find their identities and learn to think critically, which will lead to their empowerment. “We must have school practices that will provide a support system at school if the family is going through a personal crisis so that student does not drop out,” she further adds. She has witnessed financial support and scholarships for deserving cases who have tided over challenging situations.
Challenges and Resolve
The designation of Principal tags along with humongous tasks and responsibilities. According to Mrs. Agnes, the primary duty is creating a safe, nurtured, and vibrant climate for learning and a working zone where all stakeholders are welcomed and respected. She says while addressing the same, “A high priority is to maintain student discipline. There are increased physical and mental wellness issues among students. Families go through upheavals, and students may have experienced trauma, which manifests itself as aggression, self-harm, anxiety, depression, or violence towards others. Digital addiction is also on the rise, impacting personality in unseen ways. It becomes imperative to provide a supportive environment that takes care of mental wellness in ways that are incidental and not overt.”
Mrs Agnes believes that a significant focus has to be put to ensure a continuous progression in the study processes and outcomes of the students towards improving student achievement on the campus. She says, “Wherever required, promote personalized learning, which will enhance student motivation. It is critical to keep students at the forefront when making decisions and changes. We have to ensure teachers feel valued and supported. We must increase the involvement of the parent community.”
“We must be cooperative and committed to working collaboratively and valuing the contributions of others for a common purpose. The institution should have an ethos whereby sustained practices build smoother relationships towards all members of our community,” she added.
Awards and Recognition
Mrs Agnes Davies has been recognised and awarded for her service to the education space on several occasions. Some of the awards are listed below:
- 2016- Best District Principal Award, Karnataka from Science Olympiad Foundation, Delhi for outstanding Vision, Leadership Qualities & Academic Initiatives.
- 2017- Jury’s Choice Award for one of India’s Top 50 ICSE Schools by Education Today.
- 2017- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Award from Avantika, Delhi A Group of Contemporary Artists & Intellectuals for demonstrating hard work & dedication.
- 2019-2020 Greatest Principal Award from Humming Bird Education Ltd for imparting Excellence in Education & producing Outstanding Results in International Level Olympiads.
- 2020-2021 Awarded as one of the “Top 50 Effective Principals” for exemplary contribution in the field of education 2020 by Education Today.
- 2022- Trophy & Certificate of Excellence for “Psychological Well Being of Students” by Education Today in India School Merit Awards 2021-22 held at The Chancery Pavilion, Bangalore.
- 2022- Trophy & Certificate for Excellence in Education Infrastructure and Scholastic Facilities by Eldrok India in the K-12 Summit held at Taj Westend, Bangalore.
Expert Advice from an Educationist
“The education sector is a child-centered service, and academic programmes require in-class presence; hence, a teacher should regularly be present at the workplace,” highlighted Mrs. Davies. She believes that educators must prioritize the expectations of students and provide mature guidance that will empathise with the student’s voice.
She says, “It is crucial to upgrade skills and knowledge annually. A teacher must possess the grit necessary to make personal sacrifices to ensure that every target and goal is reached every year.”
Envisioning an Optimistic Future
Regarding the school’s future, Mrs Agnes says, “We raise our children with rich hearts to appreciate differences, embrace uniqueness, and stand against prejudices and stereotypes. They should continue to think and learn beyond the classroom to build an empowering and compassionate society.”
‘Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.’ Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Mrs Agnes sees an optimistic future with enhanced hard work and humaneness. She aims to set the standards in the education society.