‘Influence’ is a word that is often associated with people, especially to define a person’s leadership quality, skill, and empowerment. As children, being in a budding stage, influence them in the direct direction to lead a sophisticated and respectable life is very necessary.
In these growing years, there are various influential figures that a child encounter in their life. Some directly influence them, while others stay in the shadow and are the guiding light for the student to move ahead in life. Every child cross path with one such personality is their school’s principal.
But how exactly does a person with whom the student rarely interacts define student success? Well, the answer lies in the environment and the atmosphere the principal instils in the educational institution that defines the person’s success.
And as the popular Chinese proverb goes, ‘If you are planning for a year sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people!’ the role of principal is accurately and precisely defined in this.
Following this ideology and on a visionary mission to make children a better version of themselves is the Director Principal of Delhi Public School, Gurgaon, Mrs. Aditi Misra.
Being an influential leader in the education space, she brings an exclusive experience of 37 years to the table. The Education View, on its venture to find ‘Principals Redefining School Education for 2022,‘ came across Mrs. Aditi Misra, where she shared her vision, mission and roadmap for the future that will help define the intricacies of holistic learning for children.
Following is some of the major highlights of the interview:
- Please let us know about the origin of your career since its beginning and highlight your academic and professional pillars.
I began my professional career in September 1985. I started teaching at my own alma mater, Delhi Public School, RK Puram. I had always wanted to be a teacher since the time I was in school, and when I realized my dream of teaching, it made me very happy. My academic and professional pillar has been my love for children. The fact is that I want to help them become better versions of themselves. My dream is to reach the last child in terms of education and help in whatever way possible.
- Tell us about the school’s mission, vision, and core values.
‘Service before Self,’ the motto of DPS, is a reflection of its ethos and a desire to usher in a new era of knowledge, with the belief that every child, however different, has the right to education.
The mission is to give equal opportunities to each stakeholder for personal growth through ‘value added education,‘ to equip the students with special skills and enable them to succeed in every sphere of life.
The mission is to nurture every child into a wholesome human being who will essentially believe and work towards ‘Service before Self’ and to become an integral part of the community – reaching out to every part of it and enriching it in a special way.
Delhi Public School, Sector 45, Gurgaon, was instituted in the memory of an exceptional human being, Smt. Mala Jaipuria believed in spreading value-based education to every part of the country. The vision to commemorate her memory through a chain of exceptional schools was that of Mr. Ravi Jaipuria, the well-known industrialist, educationist and philanthropist, and his wife, Mrs. Dhara Jaipuria, who is also committed to the cause of quality education.
- What challenges have you come across during your professional journey, and how did you overcome them?
As a teacher, my biggest challenge was to help children study and pursue an academic programme with dedication. Sometimes it didn’t happen because the children were not interested or weren’t supported at home, or they were just too busy doing other things. I was able to overcome such situations by just talking to them and telling them that marks might not be everything, but they will certainly get them into the college of their choice.
So, conversations and one on one chats always worked. After becoming the principal, the bigger challenge has been handling parents who don’t understand or who don’t accept the school’s vision. It becomes a little frustrating because they have chosen the school only after learning what DPS stands for, and yet they want to change how things are being done. One can’t explain beyond a point, yet I believe conversations help if you are willing to talk to somebody on a one-on-one basis.
- What unique programs are there for students to get global exposure?
Students of DPS Gurgaon have several opportunities for global exposure. To start with, we introduce foreign languages in class IV. We have classes for French, German, and Spanish, which the children diligently study from class IV to VIII. Some of them continue with the language till IX and X by choice, and some who are really interested, carry on with it even in XI and XII. Secondly, we organize cultural exchange programmes for students from Poland, Germany, and France.
Besides this, we also have our children going and representing India in UNESCO Programs, where they have performed dances from India and have won countless accolades. I do believe that the world has become a global village, and no one can remain in isolation. So, the closer we come to the globe, the more children think like global citizens, not like the citizens of only one country but the citizens of a better world we are going to create.
- Despite all challenges, what are the major factors that keep motivating you towards your goal, and how do you inspire students for their bright future?
Well, I always believe that if you do something you like and enjoy, you do not need to be motivated by external circumstances or any external stimulus. So, I love my job, what I do, school, and the company of students, and I like getting into school programs. I have never felt the need to be motivated by something.
I think I am self-motivated, and I am very happy to be doing what I am doing. It is very rare that you enjoy your job and don’t feel like a job anymore.
Yes, inspiring children to strive more and to be determined to conquer every obstacle is a challenge, especially now after the pandemic, because children have gotten used to a certain way of studying and doing assessments. Getting them out of that mold and being self-motivated and self-driven is a challenge, but I think all of us can achieve it.
- Please do mention the major achievements, accolades, and recognitions in your career path.
Truthfully, the biggest achievement for me is the smile on the children’s faces when they come to school, the memories they gather here, and the different kinds of smiles and tears they have when they leave school. I think this has been my biggest achievement, and the fact that some of them keep coming back to school to share their achievements, where they are settling down, where they’ve got jobs, etc. is important for me. Finally, the real achievement is when students remember you on their special days.
- As a prominent principal, what would be your advice to students across the world?
The only advice that I would like to give to students across the world, as an educator and as a mother, is, ‘Try to make the world a better place, whether it is the environment, or values or acceptance. Just make it a kinder, better, and happier world.’ I believe that if everybody works for this cause in unison, it is possible.
- How do you envision your and your school’s future endeavor?
To be honest, I do not keep future in a water-tight compartment. I prefer to go with the low. Every year I try to do something better, something different, something new, something that will make the school a happier space and bring more joy to the teachers, children, and parents.
So, I think that this endeavor will continue to make the school better year by year, bit by bit, and I do hope that when I am ready to hang my boots, I will leave the school at its peak and this attitude of wanting to do something better every year, will be deeply ingrained in every stakeholder of the school.