Reflections: My Journey With A Great Leader
- Mrs. Shobha Sood, History Teacher
Our founder principal Mr J N Dar was innovative as an administrator, compassionate as a human being, impeccably dressed, dignified, and an educationist with a vision and a mission His main aim was to give holistic education to students under his charge. He believed in continuous development and progress in the lives of all his students.
One of my first pleasant memories of working under his guidance dates back to the day I had to join our prestigious institute. Due to my commitment to an exhibition at my previous school, I confessed my inability to join on the actual date of joining. To my surprise, he was very calm and persuaded me to join after the exhibition was over. He believed that loyalty and dedication are very important qualities in any profession and a key to one’s success.
He also believed in simplicity. For him, having fewer needs makes our life simple. I witnessed this quality of his when I was preparing for my ‘Joining Party’ .He called me to tell me that the party should be a simple affair. Just a cup of tea and glucose biscuits would do.. He told me to utilize the money saved for a welfare fund. This gave birth to a Social Welfare Fund in the school and its committee members constantly deposited funds in it. These funds kept on increasing and were utilized for social causes in the school.
He always supported teachers in public and made it a point to point out mistakes only in private if at all.. One such incident that I can recall was when I had left some food on my plate during lunch Soon a long bell was rung. It was a long bell, an indication of some crisis and I knew that it was rung because of my carelessness. I was called by Mr. Dar and he told me to maintain eye contact during the conversation. Very casually, he asked me to share another recipe of the same vegetable. He made me so at ease in a way that I could talk about a recipe which I would like better. Only he had this unique ability of conveying his message across without humiliating the other person.
He was a genuine man. He was always concerned about everyone and was a father figure in our lives. Even at school events, we could see him working tirelessly. I have been fortunate to work under his guidance and have had an opportunity to learn from him.
His most common advise to all was “Gun ka grahak bano.” It meant one should try to have as many virtues as possible. It would help one to follow the right path in life. His life was spotless. He would not compromise on his values.
As an eminent educationist, his focus was always on his students and how we, as teachers, could work together to make a significant difference in their lives. For this purpose, he would often peep into any classroom, at any point of time, to see if effective teaching-learning process was going on. I remember him entering my classroom once . After spending sometime in it, he had remarked that my Hindi vocabulary was superb., He was quite impressed . Use of accurate Hindi words while imparting knowledge on Indian History made sense. He admired my way of teaching . I thanked my stars for living upto his expectations at that time.
He strongly believed that a teacher should always be readily available to his/her students and he too followed it sincerely. He always encouraged us to interact with both students and colleagues. He always encouraged us to mix around.
He believed that a child must learn community living. He created a powerful community where everyone was treated equally.
While walking through the corridors of the school, he would often pause to smile or say a few words to the person passing by.. He made it a point to ask about our families and our life outside school. He was also often seen outside his office or in the ground during recess time, organizing activities and getting to know the students better. He would instruct them in grooming themselves better. He always wanted them to do things in the right manner. He made sure that every child was cheerful. This personal touch that he gave to everyone, made him loved by all.
The day I was to teach grade XI for the first time, I stood at the classroom door waiting patiently for the class to return from the library. I had mixed emotions at that time, both nervousness and excitement. I confessed my feelings to him and he encouraged me and praised my sense of duty and punctuality. I was fortunate to receive such encouraging words from him daily and this made me sail through my first year in the school very comfortably.
His guiding philosophy was rooted in the belief that a teacher must first make a connection with the students before teaching them.
Surprisingly, this is the belief that great leaders follow today also. Back then also he firmly believed in it and this proves that he was a man of great vision.
He believed that everyone was responsible for his/her own actions and rewards and punishments are earned by us only.
I can proudly say that he was a model of great work ethics and truly understood the meaning of ‘responsibility’. He was a great friend, a confidant, a boss, a leader and an example of a wonderful human being.
He allowed everyone to pitch in while discussing any topic. He made sure to hear them and respect their views.
He conducted a lot of meetings and discussed about our schedules, goals, curriculum, teaching methods and steps to motivate our students.
A unique thing about him was that he never enforced his own vision on any one, but guided everyone towards a common vision, which further became a target to be successfully achieved. He succeeded in bringing together everyone and aim for a set goal. This made him a remarkable and a gifted administrator.
He had high aspirations, a clear vision regarding what the school should be able to provide to its students and great personal values and beliefs. All these qualities made him stand out as our respected Principal.
He always encouraged his team of teachers to try some innovative measures. He also believed that innovative ideas could come out only when the teachers were absolutely stress free. As a result, whenever any of us had some personal problems, he made sure that we resolved them on priority basis and then resume our work.
His principles in life were followed not only by him, but also by his life partner. We all fondly called her “Mataji’. They both had made all of us, teachers and students, a part of their family.
To conclude, I would again say that I have been very blessed and fortunate to have worked under his excellent leadership. He not only encouraged me at every step, but also gave me the time and space to stretch my wings and keep on improvising myself as an educator. In my career as an educator, I sincerely owe my accomplishments, my awards at state and national levels, and my confidence in my abilities to his expert and able guidance.