There are many reasons to be an educator: passion, a clear career path, salary benefits, international growth opportunities, job security, and other reasons. But Priyanka Sharma, the Principal of World School, Salalah, stepped into the education industry to try and make a difference in young people’s lives and to inspire the same passion and interest in students and teachers toward their life goals.
Priyanka got the job satisfaction that few may get to experience, by having the biggest influence on a child’s life, arguably, other than parents. The visible results and transformations which she observes in the pupils under her mentorship, fills her with a sense of pride.
Priyanka firmly believes that teaching is a true vocation, much like doctors, nurses, and vets. Teaching is more than just a job. The rewarding nature of this job gives one the satisfaction unmatched by most other professions. Priyanka thoroughly enjoys being a part of this industry as everyday she gets the opportunity to instil knowledge and enthusiasm in her pupils.
We at The Knowledge Review magazine, are honoured to present an interview with Priyanka Sharma to understand her journey, her expertise and what it takes to be an empowering educator today. So, without further ado, let us dive right into the interview and cherish the wisdom we are about to receive.
Please introduce yourself to our readers and your professional journey so far.
I am a hardworking school administrator and leader knowledgeable about local, state, and federal requirements. Focused on effective administration which allows faculty to excel, I aim for an administrative role to deploy strategic planning and management experience in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
I started my career as a university professor of biotechnology, extensively surrounded by the research, experiments, and demonstrations, dealing with adult minds intellectually, socially, and emotionally. After completing four years in university, I switched to the school environment. There is a humongous difference between university life and the school; dealing with kids and teenagers requires enhanced interpersonal skills. I learnt a lot from the school environment, things like, but not limited to, self-control, patience, flexible teaching approach and the value of love, affection, nurturing and fostering.
As a teacher, I worked for two years post which I got the opportunity to serve as an academic head, mentor and counsellor to teachers and the students and an administrator. I believe a person learns every day from every role, that is why I probably learnt a lot. As a result, I grew in all the skills associated with dealing with individuals who display different mindsets in an organization.
Today, as a leader I try to accomplish a balanced approach in my organization, to attain a level of satisfaction of the individuals working under my leadership. Serving on the Principal’s chair, I ensure that all my teachers and students get the best out of their experience.
Who was your role model growing up? What was the greatest thing that you learned?
My mother is my greatest role model as I learnt all the important life lessons from her, she influenced my every action and motivated me to strive to uncover my true potentials, overcome weaknesses and make most of my life. She basically raised me to be hardworking, determined, focused, respectful and to be a good person.
Tell us about your institute/your association with the institute.
World School began in August 2012. World School is an initiative of International Training and Educational Services (ITES), Oman through Global Training LLC, a name that has been associated with quality education in Oman and having the technical tie-up with Birla Public School. World School actively and consciously influences and stimulates pupils into embracing the common values of our society, and their expression in daily action.
The school supports students in connecting their learning through concept-based teaching. This means that skills are not taught in isolation – everything is connected to a larger concept that helps learning be meaningful and support critical thinking and inquiry.
I got the privilege to join this organization in 2019 as an Academic Head. In this span of my association I served as a Head, academician, trainer, administrator, and counsellor and to justify these roles, I tried to provide overall development of the students by opting for different approaches with different abilities, dreams, and aspirations.
Education is considered as a tool of empowerment. What efforts do you and the institute take to make sure that education is provided to those who need it?
Through education, individuals can build self-esteem, gain the confidence to face the world and society and to understand the heart’s desire. As an institute we believe every child is special and unique, and therefore for their development we deliver the knowledge through different approaches and processes. Our campus is seldom quiet because our children and teachers are actively learning with enthusiasm.
We are dedicated to fulfilling every child’s educational and developmental needs in a safe and caring environment conducive to learning and teaching. We aim to create responsible, global citizens who show understanding, compassion, and acceptance of the differences in the world. We strive to ensure that every child in our care is empowered to make choices and encouraged to contribute to our community.
What is the one thing that you would like to change in the country’s education system?
Early education needs to be mandatory. There should be optimum use of technology in the education system.
Improvement in the school curricula, teaching methods and evaluation system.
Inculcation of communication skills, public speaking program and effective critical thinking is suggested.
Kindly share your views regarding interactive, online educational content and how it is gradually becoming the need of the hour.
Covid-19 changed the mindset of the people that being physically present in a classroom is not the only learning option anymore, you have the access to a quality education whenever and wherever you want, as long as you have access to a computer, which is considered to be the onset of new era – the revolution of online education.
Online education enables the teacher and the student to set their own learning pace, added flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone’s agenda. Also, the access to diverse material such as videos, photos and eBooks aided teachers to integrate this stuff to improve their lessons to have more dynamic and tailor-made education.
What advice can you give to those who want to step into the field of education?
My suggestion to the individuals who want to step into the education industry would be to be passionate about this profession. A great teacher can literally be life changing for children, so you need to be determined and focused to give your students the best experience.
Patience plays a vital role in this profession as people learn at all different rates. If you have to explain something seven times in seven different ways before it sticks, that’s just part of your job and when faced with challenging behaviour, you need to stay calm and patient and not lose your temper.
Creativity, being organised, and confidence are some of the other essential elements must for the education industry.
Please share what lies ahead of you and the institute in the near future.
We aim to provide a holistic education and develop the skills necessary to prepare our students and prepare them for the challenges of a dynamically changing world. Here are some of the goals we hope to achieve soon:
- Adopting technology to its fullest, especially in the times of Covid-19, a pandemic which has accelerated the adoption of technology in everything we do.
- To cater to the evolving needs of the new age learner, more personalized learning strategies will play a vital role to present umpteen opportunities to unleash the creative skills of students.
- Blending entertainment with learning to open the doors to think ahead and honing their creative skills.
- Skill-centric education as we believe that bookish knowledge helps them understand the topic It is only when they students apply that knowledge to a specific trade that they will shine in their jobs.
- Focus on the field experience, which means opportunities for students to obtain real world skills that are representative to their jobs, ultimately will create more room for students to fulfil internships, mentoring and collaboration projects.