Ameya S. Bal: Excellence In Academics | Exemplary Academic Leader Of 2021
RNTalks: Good morning, Ameya Ji. It’s great to be chatting with you here. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Ameya S. Bal: Good morning, I am glad to be here. I am Assistant Professor in Mass Media, at K. J. Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce, Mumbai, and a poet, voice-over artist, scriptwriter, wildlife photographer, foodie, stage performer, trekker, musician, and talkative as a person.
Being associated with AIR, Zee, and Doordarshan for 12 years, I entered teaching simultaneously. After working 5 years in print and electronic media, I took up media teaching as a full-time profession.
The motive behind it was to train and prepare young media entrants, industry-ready. I took my first media internship at age 15 and took my first lecture at age 21. At the age of 27, I became Media Department head.
As a media teacher, I started many innovative activities which turn into opportunities to develop my student’s skills and talent. Today I have 12 years of teaching experience and in these years I have trained many students who are ruling the media industry.
In my journey, I have published 6 textbooks for mass media and few research papers too. I have two YouTube channels named “SARTHA” and “Ameyabal” to express my creation and intellect.
I have been awarded as Best teacher by the Institute of Scholar, Banglore.
RNTalks: This is awesome… as we share the same love for media. What are your hobbies that destress you and what do you like to do when you’re not on job?
Ameya S. Bal: I have many things to do. I am a nature lover so trekking and photography is the first thing which I used to do. Sometimes I prepare innovative cuisine for my family. I am a harmonium player, so I do focus on that too. Listening to classical music, reading, and hanging out with friends are almost regular activities.
RNTalks: Ameya Ji, I must confess that we share a lot of common interests. I love photography and prefer to be connected to nature. Tell me something…was there a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? How did you bounce back?
Ameya S. Bal: No. Actually, I had different challenges. In my family and relatives, there was no one to guide me about how shall I go further in the media industry.
Rather my dad’s approach was very much clear that I should take a job which will give me a great package in terms of salary.
It is because he had struggled and suffered a lot due to lack of education. So in a way, it was only my teachers whom I was dependent on for guidance.
But my parents have always supported me and by the blessings and teachings of my teacher, I bounced back in each struggle I faced.
So I feel my focus towards my aim was clear and my teachers guided well me to reach there, still, I am taking their help wherever it’s needed.
RNTalks: The more you reveal about yourself the more I feel our journey is the same, even my parents wanted me to be a doctor as they both were doctors. They did not know anything about the media or art but they allowed me to follow my passions.
My only guidance like you came from my mentors. Since you traveled the road less taken by many I would like to ask you about what are your views on risk-taking? Have you taken risks in life? How did you learn to embrace risk-taking?
Ameya S. Bal: Risk-taking to me is very risky. Jokes apart but I think calculative risk-taking is always good for our own betterment.
Leaving an industry job and entering into teaching was a high risk that I took. But as I said earlier that my focus was very clear so I could manage to survive and achieve success.
RNTalks: Tell me about a recent business/ professional setback, if any. How did you recover?
Ameya S. Bal: As a self-financed course faculty, my job is not a Government job. It’s an unaided course so salary you can’t expect as much as you get for the aided course.
RNTalks: That is being very candid… now I want you to think back to five years ago. Did you envision your career as it is today? What are the changes that you can see?
Ameya S. Bal: Yes. Indeed. Rather five years back only I set up the vision. 90% of it was achieved. I have a better position, better experience and I became a more composed person as a whole.
RNTalks: That is awesome! Was there ever a role you applied for and landed, but weren’t 100% qualified to do? How did you proceed from there?
Ameya S. Bal: Yes, when I was 22 I got an opportunity to applied for a full-time post as a media lecturer in HR college Mumbai. I was selected for the final round of interviews and my interview was done.
After my interview, I was asked to meet the principal of the college who was apparently Sharif of Mumbai, Dr. Indu Sahani. I went and meet her. I was a bit confused and uncomfortable because there were many questions coming to my mind about why she called me?
Is there any mistake that I have done or any issue is there? I think it was reflected on my face because mama told me to be comfortable and don’t worry nothing had happened. She continued further that she just wanted to see who is this 22-year-old guy who already has three years of media experience and 2 years of teaching experience applying for the post of Assistant Professor.
She said that she was impressed with my CV but according to the policy of the HR college day needs a candidate who has at least four years of teaching Experience so she said ke we can’t appoint you but I am very much glad that you have done so many things in very little age and she congratulate me, wished me all the best.
This was the motivation for me and in a way a third person’s evaluation for or what I am doing with my career and from there I never look back.
RNTalks: That is very interesting… I have asked the same question to many people but none was at forthcoming with a reply as you. What do you wish you had known before taking your first responsible role?
Ameya S. Bal: When I took up my first responsible role I have known nothing other than one thing that is I have to perform my job, my role honestly, and success has no shortcuts.
RNTalks: Which leadership skills were the most difficult to develop?
Ameya S. Bal: Balance. I think balance is something that is very hard to develop because as human beings we may lose our control at some point in time or we may be a little bit partial or favorable towards something.
So it is very difficult to develop that balance at every point of your behavior… your job, your role, your attitude, your responsibilities.
RNTalks: Somewhere at some point in our lives, everyone encounters a difficult boss. Can you tell me about a time when you had a difficult boss? How did you handle the situation?
Ameya S. Bal: Yes, I had a boss where it is very difficult to handle, but I think if you keep your work absolute and to the point, you can avoid many problems. If you keep communication clear and professional and try to avoid unnecessary arguments it is very much easy.
RNTalks: You know Ameya Ji, I just love the way you answer all my questions so simply and in such a straightforward way… No skirting the topic and no false answers. Your this attitude is very inspiring. According to you, what’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how has it proven invaluable and helped you grow?
Ameya S. Bal: It’s very difficult to say about all. But yes keeping yourself on the ground and believing in yourself as a leader makes it possible to achieve what we have dreamed about.
Self-confidence and readiness to learn are the two very important aspects when you think of leadership. Being humble to everyone creates your own Aura and that helps you to survive and sustain yourself in the long run.
RNTalks: How did you develop the skill of speaking so engagingly in front of groups?
It was started at a very early age when I started comparing and anchoring musical concerts and other literary shows. As I was in music so so I learned many things from various artists of Indian classical music.
Veteran harmonium and organ player Padmashree Pandit Tulsidas Borkar Guruji guided and supported me to anchor a musical concert. So speaking engagement in front of a group was never ever a problem for me when I enter into teaching.
Even All India Radio and Doordarshan are other two organizations that trained me to speak and engage the crowd in various ways.
RNTalks: Ameya Ji, are you considering a career transition? What are some other areas that might be a good fit for you?
Ameya S. Bal: Teaching is a profession in which explorers and individuals many skills at one time.
So I don’t think I have to consider career transition because being a media teacher I can try my hands on creative writing, film production, photography, voice-over, and animation too.
RNTalks: You know Ameya Ji, I am a graphic designer, an artist, a poet, an author, a blogger, a mentor, a life coach, a soft skill trainer, a motivational speaker, an avid animal lover, and a military daughter & a military wife, and an Educationist who has celebrated and lived life on her own terms and I feel that of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the gift of self-awareness, meaning the ability to see yourself as others view you. How do you think others perceive you?
Ameya S. Bal: To be very honest I don’t even bother how others think and perceive me because it is my I Moto or a slogan you can say which elaborates about who am I.
That slogan is I am loyal to nobody but myself. I am not being rude or overconfident but there are many who have n number of opinions and perceptions about me.
So I can’t be all those what they want me to be so it is better to evaluate yourself at every point of time and let’s not bother much about what people think about you because Kuchh To Log Kahenge logon ka kam hai Kahana . . .
RNTalks: Ameya Ji, pl forgive me for getting personal but the Sanskrit word Ameya (your name) means “without any dirt.” This also means “pure” or “innocent” or “boundless” or “magnanimous.” This name is one of the many used to refer to the Hindu god Ganesha.
Your answer to my question on self-awareness and what others think of you came so close to the meaning of your name that I just couldn’t help but comment. Is there a skill you’re currently working to enhance, such as project management, long-term strategic planning, delegating, or public speaking?
Ameya S. Bal: Yes, I’m working on my technical or technological skills which are important in today’s digital technology.
Actually, I am an art student so the technical or technological knowledge and skills are not up to the mark, and considering the current scenario, I am trying to develop it so that if I can train my students well.
RNTalks: As a mentor what do you think are the 3 main areas for improvement in today’s education system?
Ameya S. Bal: Actually, there are many areas which are to be developed in our education system. But to talk about three main areas the first is we must stop taking students for granted.
Secondly, our education system must be practically oriented you can’t judge a photographer on 75 marks paper in which what and how effective answers he or she has written. You need to test him or her on photography skills only that is the practicality.
The third area is the technical education system’s lack of technological knowledge and information given in the syllabus.
There is one more area where we must encourage the education or a degree e or a course which will enhance someone’s inborn talent or skills rather than imposing a compulsion of a particular course or degree on everyone so Choice Based education must be there.
RNTalks: From your point of view, what should be the role of technology in the process of education?
I had already answered this, technology has a big role to play and we have seen or we have experienced that from last one and half years when we were fighting with the pandemic situation how Technology served as a game-changer in the education system.
RNTalks: Talking about education what do you think should be the main goal of a school principal/education?
Ameya S. Bal: The main goal of education is to create a good human being. Before anything else, we must be good human beings. Because that decides that how we are going to use the education or degree that we have.
RNTalks: If you should characterize a great school principal/mentor with three words, which words would you choose?
Ameya S. Bal: Truth character and dedication.
RNTalks: Do you think that the school principal should teach? If they should, why?
Yes, because they are the role models to their respective students. In other words, they are the top Bosses who must lead from the front.
If through teaching there is any chance to interact with the students it will be a great help for students to understand the character of the school and the motto of education.
RNTalks: My views exactly. Do you have any role models in your life?
Ameya S. Bal: Yes, I do have role models in my life. All ancient Indian Rishi or Maharshi of the Gurukul system are my role models because they were very much knowledgeable yet they are down to earth.
They had a strong belief that knowledge is wisdom. They had a vision of how and what to teach.
RNTalks: Ameya Ji, what is your opinion about the new education policies and ever-changing scenario during COVID time?
Ameya S. Bal: I am very much optimistic about the new education policy. There are several points that may lead to positive change in education. One is the choice of subject based on skills or focuses on Skilled based education.
In the COVID situation, it was very tough initially to cope up with an online system of Teaching and learning but gradually got used to it. Online teaching is a great savior in pandemic but it’s just an option, not a solution.
RNTalks: So true…we must always remember that it’s an option and not a permanent solution. Can you share your top 3 innovative ideas that you have implemented in your teaching in the past 2 years during the Pandemic to improve the wellness quotient of your students?
Ameya S. Bal: It would certainly be a pleasure to share my ideas…
- Blended Classroom: In online teaching students active participation is always a task. So I introduce blended classrooms in lectures. In it, I used to take lectures with help of Online study materials like, PPT, notes, short videos and after lecture, I used to send a video where students were asked to do practicals on what was taught in the class.
- Teaching From Live location: As a media teacher, it’s a big task to teach practical subjects like Radio and television, Broadcasting. In this subjects studio teaching is important. But in covid students were restricted to come to the studio. Then I thought what if the studio reached the students and I took lectures directly from studio on online platform where students were guided on each aspect of News and production.
- Live assignments: In creative subjects, student participation is the key element. So while teaching copywriting, creative writing giving live assignments and assessing them on the spot became effective practice to make them understand the industry insights.
RNTalks: Give one example of your teaching experience where your teaching and interaction with students have changed the direction of at least one life for the better.
Ameya S. Bal: There are many but talking about one, there was a student in my class who was very much hard to handle. He used to disturb a class in almost all lectures.
Like others, I used to throw him out of the class but one day when I was teaching slogans and jingles he replied in a very creative way. I called him in class I appreciated his answer and from that day I decided to treat him differently.
I never scolded him rather tried to give him a platform where he could portray his talent.
A few days later he came to me said, “Sir, you are the only one who appreciated my creative writing. No one else promoted this talent, not even my parents. They wanted me to take admission in Commerce as both of them are CA. Sir, I wanted to pursue my career in copywriting or scriptwriting.”
From that day I helped him in every possible way and now he is working with Amazon Prime Video.
RNTalks: This reminds me of my school days… did I ever mention that during my school days I was an outstanding student (the one who was always standing out of the class on punishment.) Anyway, jokes apart please accept our heartiest congratulations on receiving the RSRA: Exemplary Academic Leader of 2021 Award at RNTalks Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Awards under the category of Excellence In Academics (All Subjects). How do you feel about it?
Ameya S. Bal:
RNTalks: Any special message or any suggestions you would like to share with your visitors/fans which you think would help them evolve as an individual?
Ameya S. Bal: I am not that much great personality but if I have to you give any message then that will be सर्वे पि सुखिनः सन्तु सर्वे सन्तु निरामया सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद् दुःख वापनुयात.
शांति हो पृथ्वी गगन में और जल में स्वर्ग में शांति हो सारी वनस्पति और औषधि वर्ग में शांति हो संसार में सब देव में हो ब्रह्म में शांति का अनुभव करें हम तुष्ट हों अपवर्ग में
Let all be happy, Let all be healthy, Let all see/experience auspiciousness, Let no one ever be suppressed/overwhelmed by grief.
RNTalks: WOW, that’s awesome! Ameya Ji, on behalf of RNTalks, I wish you all the best for your future in mentoring.
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