To connect with children and take care of their emotional needs it is imperative that the people concerned are in close touch with them and win their trust first.
It's important that the Staff and the Principal are always close or around the children when the students are involved in Sports, Music, Art or any other activity outside the Classroom; not as a helicopter mentor but as a catalyst for better performance.
Children want their talents to be acknowledged and want their teachers to be there when they are in action. Teachers must watch their students perform. The students weak in studies need a break from the Classroom and show their other talents which help in raising their self-esteem.
In the early stages of my career, I noticed that the Headmaster and staff were present with the children at most events be it Sport or other activities. Not there as a critic but making the children feel good, confident and secure in his presence.
Same goes for the Staff. Staff's effort and work need to be applauded and acknowledged. If the leader is around it helps encourage the Staff.No matter how young or old one is a pat on the back, an encouraging word or knowing glance is very heartening.
Genuine effort should be appreciated. It builds up a bond between the Staff and students important for their confidence and self-esteem. Students struggling in the class need to have their other talents acknowledged and appreciated.
Marks are not the end of the world for a child, he may be excellent in Sports, Music, Art or any other activity outside the Classroom. Staff must be present at Inter House competitions to encourage these children. It means a world to them. Staff must also visit all centres where Children display their talents. From my personal experience, I have seen how often the children have responded and improved their concentration and grades once appreciated for their other talents.
I see a great change in many Schools today. A School is as good as its Head. Principals are more often than not becoming inaccessible. They spend most of their time in the comfort of their office. To have the confidence of the students and Staff the Principals must shed their ogre image they manage to create.
The common complaint I hear today especially from students from Boarding Schools that the teachers are just not interested in their activities outside the classroom and make no effort to get to know them.
How can a teacher inspire and motivate children?
The success lies in making the students believe in you, believe that you genuinely care and are there for them whenever needed. This is true at any stage be Primary or the Secondary School. As in all professions here to there are no short cuts if you are to make a difference in students lives. If you really have the interest of children at heart then you need to do things as they say"beyond the call of duty"!
That is, realize the enormity of the job at hand and that you are there to make a difference in their lives. In doing so you need to be understanding, patient selfless, passionate and dedicated to children's welfare.
Yes, we need to sacrifice plenty our time to look after and take care of our students to make them good human beings who in turn graduate from school as role models.
Mr Rajinder Pal Devgan, Chairman of Learning Forward India.