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Know Your Teacher: ‘If you love your work, it will never appear daunting’

An English teacher at Apeejay School says that Founder-Chairman sir’s selfless personality infused a never-ending zeal in her



She did her Bachelors in English Literature and Language and master’s in Economics, from Christ Church College, Kanpur. She then enrolled herself in BEd and was felicitated by Kanpur University for Excellent Performance in theory as well as practical teaching. It was probably then, that she realised her passion for teaching. Meet Sarita Sehgal, who, at present, teaches English to classes VIII, IX and X at Apeejay School, Pitampura.

“I started my teaching career in 1988 as a primary school teacher. I was fortunate enough to have had the experience of working in the best schools, not only for teaching but in administrative capacities as well. Perhaps this was what paved the way for me to get the opportunity to work under the able guidance of the great visionary, Dr Stya Paul. Our chairman sir’s inspiring and selfless personality infused a never-ending zeal in me to set high standards of excellence for the school and myself,” Sehgal said, who has been teaching for 25 years now.

Excerpts from an interview.

How has your journey been thus far?

There is so much to be grateful for. I owe a lot to my alma mater. I joined as just a TGT English teacher but soon I was entrusted with extra responsibilities that ranged from heading the Admissions Committee and Workshop Committee for teachers and students to spearheading Newsletter Publications, designing innovative teaching strategies and syllabus booklets for the English Department, and serving as the overall House Coordinator. I also feel blessed to have been a part of a lot of international and national educational excursions, most notably the Teacher Exchange Programme with the Australian Education Council.

Why did you choose teaching as a career?

I believe that the best way to contribute to the progress of any society is to help mould and inspire the innocent bundles of joy to be wholesome individuals with the skills and vision to create a better world and contribute in meaningful ways to their development and eventually world’s development.

As a teacher, I strongly believe that it is not only the students who get groomed, I as an individual grow with them every day. If the students are to be taught life skills and prepared for the future, the challenge is equally demanding for the teacher as well, which keeps her on her toes. Quenching students’ thirst for excellence and perfection gives a feeling of fulfilment and contentment.

How do you handle disruptive students?

Disruptive behaviour often comes from students’ inability to concentrate or their desire for attention. In the former case, it becomes the duty of the teacher to engage them by making them repeat or lead the discussions/activities. Sometimes, this behaviour can also be due to external factors. Whatever may be the reason, there’s nothing a little attention and counselling can’t resolve.

How do you remain motivated?

If you love your work, you will never find it daunting. Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions. Smiles, cheers, success, happiness, and innocence of these budding souls are enough to keep one going. The key to unlocking motivation is to keep updating our emotional, spiritual and physical software regularly and maintaining high spirits no matter what. Besides, if your goals are clear and the road to your destination is mapped out carefully, then I don’t think there is any scope for feeling low or disheartened.

Is there a perfect teacher?

I strongly resonate with a quote that says: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”. There is always scope for improvement as the only thing that is constant is change. We should always aim for perfection. It’s an ongoing journey of constant learning, unlearning and re-learning.

Why did you choose Apeejay?

It has an illustrious presence and a reputation that precedes its brand. The meticulously laid out array of opportunities for the students and teachers grounded in the ideals of holistic education that fosters a culture of academic excellence is what makes this place so special. It has held the prestigious title of being among the best schools in Delhi-NCR which speaks to the dedication and hard work of everyone associated with Apeejay.

How do you bring underachievers to par?

The underachievers should be identified at an early stage. Special attention needs to be given to these students, without making it obvious and embarrassing for them.

  1. The buddy programme is one way of helping them feel comfortable.
  2. Group learning is yet another way of bringing them together where they can share and express their doubts under the guidance of group leaders of their choice.
  3. Remedial teaching strategies to give them bite-sized tasks to achieve.
  4. By encouraging and appreciating their efforts and little wins.
  5. Assigning manageable and tailored responsibilities to boost confidence in them.
  6. Allowing them opportunities to come forward and take initiative.

How do you make the class interactive?

This perhaps is the biggest challenge we face as teachers. How to make your students not only speak but enjoy interacting. I have tried various techniques over the years including outdoor classes, the use of technology, and social and print media. Here are some other things that I have done: Planning the lessons ahead of time to minimise free time; introducing new, interesting, and age-appropriate activities; engaging and involving everyone; giving thought-provoking material, and appreciating and acknowledging every response.

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.