Principal, Kairali Public School, Ranchi, Jacob CJ opened up in an up-close candid interview with Global Youth Voice. In our series of talks with the principals, GYV spoke to principal Jacob who has served his life as an academician for more than 25 years now. He joined Kairali Public School, Ranchi as a Principal in July 2015. He talked about education, mental health, and his own experiences as a student in this conversation.
Your Grades do not define your future.
Question: How do you define success? And how much of a role do grades play in deciding one’s future?
Answer: I don’t think that marks play any deciding factor in shaping one’s career. I have known students who were not meritorious in terms of grades, but today have reached great heights. I am also witness to toppers who did not achieve what was expected of them just on the basis of their marks. Grades are reflection of only a part of education; it does not determine one’s caliber.
Teachers must focus on guiding a student and imbibing moral values. They should never overemphasize on marks and comparison of grades. Both parents and teachers should keep in mind that a student or kid is much more than their score sheet.
Headmaster is a guide, not a master
Question: What is it like being a principal and being a teacher?
Answer: I have served as both a principal and a teacher, and in my opinion teaching is the most satisfying and fulfilling profession. Being a teacher is more gratifying, even though for most part of my career I was an administrator. However, as a principal too, I keep my door open for my students. Any child can walk through that door and communicate easily without much ado. A headmaster should be a guide for teachers and schools, so I try to keep that accessibility and transparency.
No to Corporal Punishment, Challenging students is important though
Question: Back in your days corporal punishment was no big a deal. How do you today as an academician yourself look at it?
Answer: In our times, parents left the disciplining of the child on school. They barely intervened if a teacher hit a student. However, things can take an excessive turn any time. There might be a mental and emotional or physical trauma that this disciplining or punishment could cause. I am not in support of corporal punishment as it can have damages beyond our understanding. However, it is very important to let a child come out of their shell for a better understanding of the world.
Corporal punishment by no means should be resorted to discipline children. My younger son Nishil’s teachers were always complaining about his lack of discipline. Nishil wouldn’t sit at one place for any longer than five minutes. However, as demotivated others were in him, today he has carved a niche for himself. He is a fighter pilot, serving the country and doing great for himself. Parents and teachers should try to help a student grow. They should challenge them, while being their support system or backup simultaneously. The world out there should not come as a shocker to the child tomorrow, if we help them prepare from today.
Mental Health must be addressed in school curriculum
Question: In the light of the increased suicide rate and tendency among students, what do you think is responsible for it? Do you think mental health should be inclusive in schools?
Answer: As a society, we are responsible for over pressurizing students. Comparing our kids with other’s performance and result is wrong. Coaching classes, schools and media sensationalizes toppers. This leads to self doubt and confidence issues among students. Students need to know that marks is not all that matters in life. They all have different talents and skills, which should be encouraged.
It is very important to address mental health in school curriculum. Schools shape a student’s life and mental health. Depression and mental health issues can creep into a child’s behavior at a very young age. Schools should have counselors to address these issues. While all teachers are also counselors, professional intervention is important too. School syllabus and curriculum should be designed to resolve this.
Once a “Backbencher”
Question: Were you ever scolded or beaten in your school days?
Answer: Yes, undoubtedly yes. We had this brilliant math teacher who has scolded me numerous times. I was even beaten up (chuckles). While I sat on the first bench during his class, often I joined my backbencher friends too. This was one major reason for the reprimand and thrashing.
Bunking is not a sin, if you find the right balance
Question: Did you ever bunk a class during your education?
Answer: During my college days, I was a politically active student. I had my fair share of fun back then. We bunked classes to watch movies in the newly opened theatres in the city. It is important to experience everything in life as long as you are finding the right balance. We even have stories of fights and conflicts. As a student union representative, I was occasionally involved in clashes. The matters would get resolved soon though, but they were nonetheless very adventurous.
With this video presented by Global Youth Voice, take a sneak peek into the principal’s life.