Education Stalwarts 2022 | Ms. Jayashree Sathyanarayanan, Founder – Director of London Montessori School, Chennai | Leaders in Education

London Montessori School is a perfect amalgamation of kids, teachers, parents and founders. It would be injustice if we try to see them as separate entities.  We grow together as a community, with the motto of bringing a change in the kid’s life, deeply placed in our hearts.The vision of the institution should be passed on to the teachers. The expectation of the parents and ideas of the teachers should also be considered and integrated as part of the curriculum. Repeated iterations of this process will ensure that the curriculum is not related only to academics but is an exhaustive one which covers different aspects and opens the doors to the children’s success.

A successful leader is someone who leads a team towards success by working with them and for them. Followers will merely follow instructions and they may not have a clear understanding of the goals. This would hinder creativity and freedom. Once there is a positive environment setup by the leader, there is definitely a possibility that new horizons and innovation will be a natural occurrence. At London Montessori, we give an opportunity to the teaching faculties to share their thought process and we have collective sessions to evaluate them and turn their ideas into reality.

I have never hesitated to work. Being a leader brings in a lot of responsibilities to the role. I strongly believe that a leader should know every role in the institution and the work that has to be performed in a role. I have never hesitated to work as a teacher, Center Head or assist during lunch times, prepare posters or decorate classrooms, if a few staff members were absent.

When the pandemic started and the lockdown was enforced, we assumed that it may last for a maximum of two months. However, when reality hit us hard, we had to quickly strategize and implement the plan in lightning speed. We decided that the teachers will start teaching online, from home. Some of the teachers were hesitant and feeling shy, since the parents will be sitting next to the kid and may even interfere during the classes.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t even open the schools to take the materials used for teaching.  We placed orders online and had the teaching aids like boards, markers, charts and other materials directly delivered to the teachers’ homes. We requested the parents to buy some text books online. Since some kids did not want to sit for live online classes, we even recorded videos and started sharing them.

Though the entire vision of the institution is coined and framed by the founder, unless the same vision is shared and implemented by the team, it will be a futile effort and will not convert into reality.

We have a special induction program for both teaching and non-teaching staff. This helps them embrace the work culture with ease and gives them a clear understanding of the end goals. This encourages and motivates them and gives them a sense of belonging.

Teaching is one of the most important professions, mainly for the reason that the future of the younger generation depends on their foundational education. We conduct knowledge sharing sessions and brainstorming is done to come up with new innovative ideas. Publicly praising teachers and allocating small budgets for teacher gifts also acts as a source of motivation.

At London Montessori, we consider the teachers and parents as part of the fraternity. When we started the online classes, some teachers were not familiar with tools or apps that could be used to create content.

I took the responsibility on myself and did an extensive research and finalized the tools that would be both effective and easy to use.

I recorded some sample videos and explained the etiquettes that should be followed during online classes. Teachers were inspired and excited to explore all possibilities. They recorded multiple videos with special effects.

The pandemic turned many lives upside down. A lot of play schools even closed operations. However, at London Montessori, we wanted to make sure that we sustain during the difficult times.  Patience and endurance were a few traits that we acquired, to say the least. Despite financial difficulties, we ensured that the school operations would continue as usual.

“Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela. A message I would like to give to the upcoming professionals in the field of education is that – Leadership is not about a title or designation. Stay positive and steer the team towards success even during difficult times. It is about the inspiration, influence and impact that we create. Inspire others to dream more and achieve more.

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