Sagareeka Bhatia -School Head -RBK INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ,Thane

Sagareeka Bhatia, current School Head of RBK INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL holds a successful record as an educator spanning higher education, primary, secondary & special education including senior leadership & school governance along with research activity. RBK INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL is a complete Cambridge school following CAIE curriculum upto AS & A level (Equivalent to grades 11 & 12).

It takes a big heart to shape little minds

Sagareeka says – Teaching as a profession has been bad mouthed everywhere stating that if you fail in other professions, you can become a teacher which is so untrue. Times have changed and like any other profession, teaching comes with its own set of challenges. We too have performance pressures, deadlines to meet etc. like any other profession. But everything said & done, teaching is a noble profession changing and moulding the life of generations to come, is not a very lucrative option with respect to pay scales hence people think twice before taking up this profession, there’s no other reason.

Teaching is not an easy job, it calls for a lot of patience, one has to be very strong with IQ (Intelligent quotient) & EQ (Emotional Quotient) which is not everyone’s cup of tea. Also, one has to have a liking for children & to deal with their tantrums. Only an individual with a big heart who can accommodate so many learners and desirous of bringing a change in their lives by educating them are the right choice of people to join this profession.

Teaching process is simpler due to technology ( Technology has changed the teaching learning process)

I beg to differ that the teaching process is overburdened today. With the onset of technology in the classroom the teacher engagement time has reduced. The current generation are technology natives & they comprehend concepts better if they are taught using digital medium, hence the preparation time of the teachers have lessened in a class transaction of 40 minutes. A video or a presentation can encompass a substantial amount of knowledge and delivered to the target audience in a short period of time.
Preparation of teaching aids too is no longer required due to 3D images available online or in a well-equipped science lab. Preparing worksheets for reinforcement has become an easy process as there are lot of printable topic-wise resources available online.

Deep subject knowledge is the need of the hour

An important point to be noted is that initially a teacher would address multiple subjects but now due to the difficulty level of the subjects, it has become imperative to have subject experts with very strong domain knowledge resulting in specialized teachers to address a subject and not a jack of all trades & master of none works in the current education scenario.

Challenges faced as a School Head

– Why an International school and why not a national curriculum? Is a question frequently faced.
– Justifying to the stakeholders about the facilities versus the fees charged to the wards
– Keeping a check on child safety measures in compliance with various governing bodies like POSCO, government policies etc.
– Introduction of ebooks and coping with issues related to increased screen time and access to other distractions in a wifi enabled campus.

Challenges faced by teachers today

My teachers who taught me mostly used Chalk & Talk methods and it was more of a teacher centric classroom where their content knowledge was very strong as they had no other means to rely on, whereas now with the introduction of technology, faculty members are able to substitute their lessons with online resources changing the complete ecosystem of the teaching learning process.

– Teachers of today versus the teachers of yester years are exposed to a lot of information hence knowledge management is a key factor for the current teaching fraternity.
– Another area which requires their attention is the various types of learners i.e. learners from broken families with emotional issues, differently abled learners, learners with different learning disabilities etc. Hence the current day teachers are required to have to be geared with very strong emotional & social quotient over & above Intelligent quotient.
– They must be extremely technology friendly which was not the case with teachers when I was a student.
– Faculty members should also be versatile to use all the mediums of teaching eg: Team teaching, collaborative teaching, cooperative teaching methods, project based learning embedded learning methods etc.

Faculty training with peer teaching

Being an International School, we don’t get faculty members who are trained to deliver the international curriculum with innovative effective teaching methods, as a result we ask them to totally unlearn their practices, involve them in weekly professional development classes by teachers themselves as resource persons sharing their best practices in the class. This is peer teaching & learning.

Advice to parents of today

My advice to today’s helicopter parents would be to sensitise their children about the violent games, monitor screen time & give them maximum exposure by encouraging them to participate in sports, field trips, student exchanges, and school trips etc. which surely build their social skills. Already most households are blessed with only one child, as a result qualities like caring & sharing aren’t developed at home, so school is the best place to develop these skills over & above competitive skills.

Parents must spend time with their wards and build a strong bond to create emotionally strong adults. Parents should also invest time in knowing more about options available for students and expose them to those options Eg: Education fairs, Art festivals, Exhibitions, Career fairs, guidance & counselling etc. Parents also must be proactive in understanding their child’s emotions and act accordingly.

Lastly let them not pressurise their wards to achieve what they couldn’t achieve in their life.

Advice to students

My advice to today’s GEN Z would be to spend more time on the playground rather than being couch potatoes. Health must be given more importance and work towards a lean body rather than a pear shaped body. They must engage themselves in creativity, art, robotics over & above academics which would develop their logical reasoning & critical thinking giving them an edge over the rest in higher education. They must also develop research skills to be future ready.

Having a positive approach, being humane and marching ahead of life with humility would doubtless pave the way to success.

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