Winning awards, prizes or accolades is nothing new for Padmini Sriraman, Principal, The Hindu Senior Secondary School, Indira Nagar.
Ms. Padmini, who received the CBSE Best Teacher Award for 2011 on September 4, started her career as a kindergarten teacher and has risen to the level of principal through hard work and commitment to her vocation. Her mantra for success: “Keep learning. Every day is a new challenge.”
Aren’t teachers supposed to only make children learn?
“Sure. To be able to do that satisfactorily, the teacher has to constantly update her knowledge and skills. Education now is more of a challenge. The days of ‘Chalk and Talk’are over. The teacher must now be more creative. It will be very difficult to run the show unless the teacher is willing to learn.”
Reminiscing about her student days, Ms. Padmini says she studied in Vidyodaya Girls Higher Secondary School, Valluvarkottam, and graduated from Stella Maris College. Holding a double M.A. — in Economics and History — she also completed her M. Ed and M. Phil before setting out on a teaching career from the very school she studied.
Marriage saw her shifting base to Lucknow, where she spent more than 10 years teaching at a school. During this period, she won prizes for the ‘Best Teacher’ for three consecutive years. She was also adjudged the best ‘Teacher Guardian’ for her exemplary work in counselling children.
On her return to Chennai, she worked as principal in the Sri Narayana Mission Senior Secondary School for about 6 years during which she won the Vocational Teacher Award. During her stewardship, the school garnered the Prime Minister’s Shield for Best Scouts and Guides and the Best Cultural School Award for its show in the Republic Day Parade at Delhi.
In 2001, she took over as the principal of the Hindu Senior Secondary School.
The Mylapore Academy honoured her with the Best Principal Award in 2007. Two years ago, the school also won the International School Award.
It is not just academics that interests this exemplary teacher. “Right from a young age, I had a flair for art and craft and won the first prize in competitions right through schooling and even at the college level”, she discloses.
Onus on teacher
On the present continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) introduced by CBSE, Ms. Padmini says the onus is now on the teacher to upgrade herself and keep abreast of changes in the system so that the classroom is interesting and lively. The teacher has to bear one important point in mind — no child should be left behind.
“The present system gives room for tapping the different talents of a child — be it music, art, craft or sports, and it is up to the teacher to bring forth these talents using different tools and techniques.”