We’re on a mission to nurture children’s emotional well-being, to inculcate compassion in their character, and build wisdom over knowledge with compassionate teachers, because what they learn in school today will shape their lives and communities tomorrow. To address the shortcomings of the educational system, we decided to travel the country and meet eminent leaders whose values align with our mission so that we can work together to ‘Create A world That Cares’. We met Dr. Sunanda K C, the principal of Nehru International School, Coimbatore for an engaging discussion about values, teacher wellbeing, and her journey as a school leader during the pandemic. She believes, values should not be restricted to moral science or value education classes. The lesson plans are structured in such a way that values are distributed throughout all disciplines. Teachers are encouraged to consider what values they are instilling in their students while teaching a specific subject. Values-related topics are discussed at assembly, and the school ensures that it is not limited to assembly time but rather flows throughout the school’s regular routine.
She discussed the challenges that the school experienced throughout the pandemic, the first of which was training teachers for conducting online classes and encouraging students for the same. Yet another challenge was to keep the classroom engaging despite the lack of face-to-face interaction with the students. Teachers researched various ways and resources to immerse the students in this new format.
She spoke about how yoga, physical education, music, and aerobics are now included in online school so that children’s overall development is not compromised. At the beginning of each class, teachers and students have a ‘circle time’ where students are encouraged to share their feelings with teachers and their peers. Children feel like they have a listening ear during this informal time since their emotional side is addressed. The school has always aimed to cater to the mental and emotional wellbeing of its students. She discussed how difficult it has been for teachers to balance work and home life, which is why the working hours for teachers have been clearly defined in her school. Dr. Sunanda has worked to ensure the wellbeing of her teachers because she feels, just like doctors and nurses, teachers too didn’t stop working even during the pandemic.
Dr. Sunanda also expressed gratitude for the support received by the upper management. Things would have been a lot more difficult if management hadn’t stepped in to help with the school’s smooth functioning.
We believe that every time we meet such leaders, we add another pillar to our structure and become stronger. With leaders like Dr. Sunanda, we are confident that we will “Create A World That Cares.”