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Know Your Teacher: ‘A teacher affects for eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops’

An educator at Apeejay School blends traditional and modern teaching methods to keep up with trends



Since childhood, she has been fascinated by the profession of teaching. She used to write on the walls of her house and correct old notebooks. This pulled her towards this profession. “As a teacher, I wish to make a positive impact on the lives of students by being kind, emphatic, caring and passionate towards them. I have a passion for teaching my subject. It gives me the utmost satisfaction to share my knowledge with the students and learn from the students as well,” Gurpreet Kaur said, who has done her MCom, BEd, and MPhil.

In a candid interview, the Accountancy and Business Studies teacher, at Apeejay School, Rama Mandi who has taken classes XI and XII for more than 17 years, talks about how she handles conflicts or discipline issues in the classroom.

How do you keep up with the latest teaching trends and methodologies?

I blend traditional classroom teaching methods with new teaching trends. I use a smartboard to access online study material to make learning easier for the students and boost their involvement in the classroom. I use PowerPoint presentations to include images, graphs, and short video clips to elaborate on various topics. I give them assignments which help them to explore more about the subject. I give them real-life examples so that they can apply their knowledge in real-life situations.

How do you discipline students?

Discipline is essential for the learning process. I make it a point not to ignore any kind of disruption in the class. At the start of the session, I lay down the standards in terms of discipline and behaviour — what is acceptable and what is not. I try to create rapport with my students so that they become more disciplined. I appreciate the good behaviour which encourages other students to behave. I try to make my class interactive by engaging my students in group discussions, role plays and visual aids which help me to enhance discipline in the class.

How do you adapt your teaching style to accommodate different learning styles and abilities?

I engage the students in conversation about the subject matter. I give them notes on difficult topics of the subject. I supplement my study material with relevant presentations, videos from the Internet, online quizzes and interactive websites to make learning easier. I ask students to pick out the keywords and highlight the important words and ideas. I advise my students to use acronyms and mind maps to learn the points.

How do you involve parents or guardians in the learning process?

The involvement of parents is extremely important in the learning and success of students’ academic careers and lives. I use parent-teacher meetings to build positive relationships and trust between parents and teachers. I create broadcast groups where I can update parents regarding the performance of their children. Orientation programmes and coffee meets are regularly planned in which we interact with the parents so that they can participate more in their children’s education.

Gurpreet Kaur, Accountancy and Business Studies teacher, at
Apeejay School, Rama Mandi

 What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful teacher to have?

There is a quote by Henry Adams, a 19th-century American historian, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” The measure of success of a teacher is the way he/she is remembered and cherished by their students. A great teacher inspires students in every aspect of their lives. To be successful, a teacher must have good leadership traits as he/she has to manage the class.

The teacher should be passionate as enlightening the young generation is not an ordinary task. The teacher must also be adaptable to the changing environment, have lots of patience, be an active listener, and be free from bias. The teacher should have mastery of his/her subject and have a passion for learning and self-development. The best teachers are those who show you where to look but do not tell you what to see.

What strategies do you use to encourage student participation and engagement in classroom discussions?

Before starting a topic, I prefer to let students share their prior knowledge about that topic. This way they get stimulated to learn about the topic with interest. I ask the students randomly to repeat the concept taught by me in their words to ensure their full engagement. I encourage peer group learning which benefits slow learners as well. I conduct group discussions and role plays to clarify concepts. Case studies, application-oriented problems, higher-order thinking skills and objective-type questions are discussed with students. I encourage them to share their ideas and viewpoints on various topics.

A message for the students.

Life is a learning process. You should aim high and put in your best efforts. You must be focused to achieve your goal and follow a disciplined schedule. Life will throw challenges but you should push forward. Have faith in yourself and make use of technology for enhancing your knowledge but do not become a slave of technology. You should not compare yourself with others but become the best version of yourself.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.