Geeta Nigam: Exemplary Academic Leader Of 2021 | Excellence In Academics
RNTalks: Good morning, Geeta Nigam Ji. It’s great to be chatting with you here. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Geeta Nigam: I am self-motivated as I have imbibed the power from the oceans, winds, fire, clouds, and land and I am just a part of them.
RNTalks: That’s wonderful, what are the hobbies that destress you, and what do you like to do when you’re not on job?
Geeta Nigam: Singing, dancing, and writing. And when I am not on job like to speak online on education, myself, and different topics and chat with my friends and family members.
RNTalks: Geeta Ji, tell me something… was there a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? How did you bounce back?
Geeta Nigam: Yes, when my loving friend stopped talking to me for a year, I thought I will never get him but I pursued on by writing letters and I got him back.
RNTalks: Yes the pain of losing a friend is great. Have you taken risks in life? What are your views on risk-taking? How did you learn to embrace risk-taking?
Geeta Nigam: No, I have never taken any risks. Participating in competitions has always remained a healthy feeling for me.
RNTalks: You have seen the ups and downs of life. Tell me about a recent business/ professional setback, if any. How did you recover?
Geeta Nigam: I had to resign from the Principal’s post. I was appointed as a founder Principal. They didn’t get many students and they invested 25 crores. They were quite business-minded, not able to pay my salary. I had to resign. It was a great setback but after some days I took it as a great challenge and went away to America to my children.
RNTalks: Oh! that was indeed a setback, but knowing you I know you must have faced it bravely too. Think back to five years ago. Did you envision your career as it is today? What are the changes that you can see?
Geeta Nigam: No, not at all. Five years back I was teaching students and teaching, giggling, and enjoying their awesome company. Now I am missing their company though most of them are in touch with me.
RNTalks: Was there ever a role you applied for and landed, but weren’t 100% qualified to do? How did you proceed from there?
Geeta Nigam: Yes, I became founder principal of an international school and I couldn’t continue. Though I was working very hard and I didn’t even get full one year even to prove myself.
RNTalks: I agree. Life has its own way of teaching us. What do you wish you had known before taking your first responsible role?
Geeta Nigam: I don’t believe in this. You learn many things and keep adapting to the ways of the people. We have to adjust ourselves, be submissive and humble if we want to lead in any profession. I am happy I am admired by everyone, wherever I worked… whether as a teacher or a principal.
RNTalks: Which leadership skills were the most difficult to develop?
Geeta Nigam: It was very difficult for me to be very strict with the teachers and I couldn’t fire or scold any teachers because I gave respect and honored them, remembering once I was also a teacher.
RNTalks: Geeta Ji, 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?
Geeta Nigam: For me, it was never difficult to encounter any boss because I had learned to respect the orders, rules from my childhood itself. Whether in school or university I was popular for my well-disciplined behavior. I had imbibed this quality from my Father.
I feel fortunate to have met such bosses in life, with whom I comfortably worked. Being even a Head Examiner for 3 continuous years, the asst examiners, coordinators have been very cordial with me.
I have organized many literary and cultural programs and have been successful and been appreciated by my Boss, administrators, and colleagues.
RNTalks: That is awesome! What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned Geeta Ji, and how has it proven invaluable and helped you grow?
Geeta Nigam: Evaluation of others’ qualities, encouraging them and making them feel honored for their work, uplifting their spirit and motivating them, and at times to be strict is also essential.
But I have got positive responses from my colleagues as I was Head of my English department, and I always treated them to be my team members. It was their hard work and zeal that was every time giving my department a grand success.
The result of my subject had always been at the top whether English core 101 or 10th class.
RNTalks: You are a good orator Geeta Ji. How did you develop the skill of speaking so engagingly in front of groups?
Geeta Nigam: I think the family environment and the society in which you are brought up play a vital role. Throughout I had studied in central school and was brought up in an Airforce Camp.
I was a passionate singer, dancer and participated in Annual Athletic meets and cultural programs whether Annual Day Functions or other cultural programs in our Airforce Camps.
I have been a Radio and TV artist. In university, I was very famous for my singing and participating in speeches. Perhaps I gradually and naturally my elocutionary skill has been given so much exposure throughout life.
RNTalks: The more I know about you the more my respect increases for you. Are you considering a career transition? What are some other areas that might be a good fit for you?
Geeta Nigam: Yes, thinking about it… maybe as a writer and hosting a channel of my own.
RNTalks: Wow… that’s good news! Geeta Ji, I think that in today’s scenario one 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?
Geeta Nigam: You better ask my friends and students. Ask Major Mohammad Ali Shah.
RNTalks: I am sure they think very highly of you. Is there a skill you’re currently working to enhance, such as project management, long-term strategic planning, delegating, or public speaking?
Geeta Nigam: Yes as a motivational speaker. Many schools have booked me to motivate the students of class 10th, 11th, and 12th, and even Engineering colleges.
I feel I should boost up the morale of the students and make them spiritually and emotionally very strong.
There are certain students who are talented and bright but they still didn’t have any exposure and they still in the dark about what best they can do for themselves.
RNTalks: Geeta Ji, what is your opinion about the new education policies and ever-changing scenario during COVID time?
Geeta Nigam: New Education Policy (NEP) 2020-2021 is of course new revelation, with no major difference between academic streams and other extracurricular activities and sports.
Emphasis will be placed on extracurricular, professional streams in schools, literacy, and numeracy. I am totally in favor of NEP and the new steps taken by the Government, for the Board exams of class 10th and 12th.
It was taken in favor of the student’s health and the psychological trauma they had been persistently facing during Covid. Many schools and students who aspire for grades and positions, may have been disappointed.
But for those who are bright and geniuses, there is no end to their growth and proving their worth. Health is the greatest priority.
RNTalks: I agree with you 100% on this. 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?
Geeta Nigam: I have encouraged my students to explore through their own vision and imagination. Exploring, discovering and innovative ideas must be encouraged and appreciated.
The bookish knowledge is of course important but linking that into our day-to-day life is also important. E.g. if the students have to learn about Archimedes Principle of buoyancy they must understand it practically by dipping themselves into the pool and a tub. Let a student grow a flowering plant himself and view it daily. He should then understand it better when he does it practically.
RNTalks: Geeta Ji, can you share with us one example of your teaching experience where your teaching and interaction with students has changed the direction of at least one life for the better.
Geeta Nigam: My students used to feel hesitant while writing long essays, diaries, reporting, articles. The topics could be from the main coursebook and usually sports or whatever common problems that were prevalent in our Indian society.
I made them confident that they should have to learn the format which carried complete 4 marks. Next was the layout. I gave nearly 10 common topics about idioms, proverbs, and verses to memorize. I made them freely express their views.
Even if they committed grammatical mistakes, they could at least score 7.5 out of 10 in descriptive answers. I came across several such students who didn’t know how to give the answers in the Reading passages. I had to train them up to write answers in one word or in the phrasal form to save time.
During my teaching career, I came across a boy who was the only son of divorced parents. He was admitted to the 9th class. Very beautiful, smart, sweet, adorable but while writing, he used to always complain about not feeling well. He had short attendance too.
The mother had asked me to take care of her son. I generally noticed that he did not bring his lunch and used to eat with his friends. As I was his class teacher, I took special care. Sometimes I brought extra lunch for him and used to give him money to eat in the canteen.
A few days later, the students complained about him eating some white tabs. I found that he was taking Velium-5, a drug. The boy was a very good dancer but was removed from the school, as his association with other students could spoil the whole environment.
I couldn’t tackle him in school but pursued giving him moral lessons and support through phone calls. But alas after 6 years he expired. But he gave me a lesson to counsel the parents too along with students.
RNTalks: That is something very profound. As a mentor, we also have to counsel the parents. What do you think are the 3 main areas for improvement in today’s education system?
Geeta Nigam: I think the main areas for improvement in today’s education system are…
1. Freedom to study and analyze Nature and the universe 2. Attitude 3. Learn to learn and not for grades.
RNTalks: Everyone has their own perspective but from your point of view, what should be the role of technology in the process of education?
Geeta Nigam: Technology should be a medium for helping the students and not as a replacement for Human resources. Net can fail anywhere and at any time but your intelligence will not fail you.
A typewriter can stop working but if you are well affluent in writing with your hands, you will never fail in giving your answers and communication skills.
RNTalks: What do you think should be the main goal of a school principal/education?
Geeta Nigam: Produce good Human Resources with totally developed qualities worthy for the Nation and World. Personalities with fine characters with moral-ethical values rather than just qualifying academically for exams.
Sports, Extracurricular Activities, and morality lessons are as important as academic studies perhaps more.
RNTalks: Truly said…If you should characterize a great school principal/mentor with three words, which words would you choose?
Geeta Nigam: A Dynamic Leader
RNTalks: Do you think that the school principal should teach? If they should, why?
Geeta Nigam: Yes, the students feel very excited when the Principal enters and teaches them. As he is supposed to be the best mentor or a teacher.
RNTalks: Geeta Ji, from your point of view, what should be the relationship between a mentor/principal and the students?
Geeta Nigam: A Family of decorum, principles, and discipline. Respect and obey. Humanism and empathy.
RNTalks: As a principal, how would you go about building a relationship of trust and collaboration with staff, parents, and students?
Geeta Nigam: The principal is a leader and not a boss or a dictator. He has to give respect to staff and the parents as well. The children learn to respect and obey ( the vital part of discipline) by observing their heads, their parents, teachers, and the principal.
For the students, the Principal is the highest authority been admired as a leader. The principal takes feedback from all the students through his teachers and then passes on the information to the parents.
The principal gives respect and honor to all the teachers in the assembly and he also asks the teachers to hold meetings with the parents with grace and honor. In this way, very very respectful gracious relationships are maintained.
These days as the parents are highly educated and financially very strong try to dominate the principal and the teachers. But on the contrary, the Principal calls such parents in his office and gently tackles the problem in a diplomatic way, maintaining discipline, peace, harmony, and decorum.
RNTalks: I agree that the role of the Principal carries a lot of responsibilities with it. Have you worked with RTE students? What experiences have you had in working with RTE/low-income and “at-risk” students? What strategies do you use when working with them to give them an even platform of growth like other privileged students?
Geeta Nigam: For me, all the students have been alike. I have always preferred the talents, capabilities, brightness of the children. I have also taught the children of a peon and gatekeeper, technicians of the same school.
I always encouraged them by honoring the jobs of their parents. As they were very honest, humble, and hardworking and these qualities are worth appreciating for me than to be financially coming from a rich background and you are aware that their money is through bribery or some fake resources.
RNTalks: Geeta Ji, 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. How do you feel about it?
Geeta Nigam: I am greatly honored and feeling delighted from the deep core of my soul towards Ranjeeta Nath Ghai and the whole team members who have awarded me with this prestigious award.
A teacher is always a teacher and the passion for teaching and preaching, motivating and inspiring move on simultaneously with life as they grow. I believe in excepting changes and challenges and today’s technological changes too.
Master the technology but do not be its slaves. By nature, man has been bestowed with the gift of intellect and power of the mind to use all the organs hands, legs, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth as well as tongue.
Don’t forget writing skills, solving mathematics problems skills, learning and inspiring through science, history, and geography. Travel as much as you can. See and appreciate nature around you through your naked eyes rather than watching TV.
Play games, dance, sing with nature. Enjoy Freedom of thought and expression. Love everyone full-heartedly and laugh as much as you can. These are the real treasures and mantras of life. Embrace your shortcomings and overcome all the challenges.
RNTalks: Geeta Ji, do you have any role models in your life? We would love to know about them.
Geeta Nigam: Yes. I still follow the path of my teacher Mr. Mohammad Tahir who has been an exemplary model for everyone in KVDC -1.
He taught me history, encouraged my talents, made me a TV and Radio artist. He was a dynamic teacher who had all-around talents from academic teaching to extracurricular activities and sports.
I simply loved him. Though he is no more in this world. He was also awarded The Best Teacher Award in 1973. My great tribute to him on this Teachers’ Day.
RNTalks: Any special message or any suggestions geeta Ji, that you would like to share with your visitors/fans which you think would help them evolve as an individual?
Geeta Nigam: I would like to say that there is no easy way to succeed. From the beginning, the child should be taught to set up a goal. All the ladders can’t be climbed in one day. Climbing on Everest had never been achieved in one attempt. Many passionate adventurous climbing hikers had lost their lives.
If you are trying to learn to ride, don’t fear if you had a fall and fractured your leg. The whole life is a great challenge. Respect other’s talents and efforts and believe in human power that we are part of nature and our power is in our spirit and attitude.
Keep reforming your attitude and changing your thoughts or attitude on the basis of circumstances are the experiences of life which we should accept. Learning is a never-ending process and pursues till our last breath.
RNTalks: WOW, that’s awesome! I agree that there is no easy way to succeed and that whatever we are today it is because of our mentors and parents who were our first teachers. Geeta Ji, on behalf of RNTalks, I wish you all the best for your future in mentoring. Thank you for being with us this evening.
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