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Manju Lata: Exemplary Academic Leader Of 2021 – Excellence In Academics
RNTalks: Good morning, Manju Lata Ji. It’s great to be chatting with you here. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Manju Lata: Well, I am a teacher by profession and love to teach. I am from Gorakhpur, U.P. but working here in the beautiful environs of Arunachal Pradesh for the last 31 years.
RNTalks: Besides mentoring what are your hobbies that de-stress you and what do you like to do when you’re not on job?
Manju Lata: Hobbies are the one which makes one tension-free. Writing poems and stories always gives me immense pleasure. Taking clicks of nature, flowers, etc. also makes me tension-free.
Besides this sleeping for half or one hour destresses me a lot. When I am not on job, I love to do either gardening or drawing painting
RNTalks: That’s superb! Manju Ji, was there ever a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? How did you bounce back?
Manju Lata: Yes, a number of times this kind of situation has come in front of me making me too humiliated and a big failure but my inner conscience has always encouraged me.
The hidden cosmic powers have always helped me to bounce back by showing the presence of mind and wisdom. My nears and dears have also helped me to come out of such situations.
RNTalks: Wow, I loved the cosmic power part. In fact, very few of us realize that it even exists. What are your views on risk-taking? Have you taken risks in life? How did you learn to embrace risk-taking?
Manju Lata: My view regarding risk-taking is that it is sometimes necessary in life. If you have to gain something precious you must take the risk. I learned it from the different experiences of my life.
I do remember that day when I was in the seventh standard. Suddenly one day, my father got a telegram that my grandfather was on his death bed and he wants to see us. In those days my father with me, my brothers, and mom was posted to Ziro division, Arunachal Pradesh. He was Accounts Officer in SSB.
Immediately bags and suitcases were packed and without any reservation, taking the risk we all entered the sleeper class. We all stayed for two days bearing all those unbearable smells near the toilet of the compartment but lastly, we reached our village and could see our grandfather who was taking his last breathe only to see us. He expired the following morning but the risk was worth all the effort.
RNTalks: That was some experience! Can you tell me about a recent business/ professional setback, if any, and how did you recover?
Manju Lata: It is around about four years back when my husband got an attack of a stroke. He was hospitalized immediately. The doctor advised me to take him to the nearest town as the hospital was lacking any kind of facilities for such cases.
No CT scan machine was there. Immediately in the morning, I took him to Dibrugarh, and there I have to stay for three weeks with him. But here I simply informed my Principal about the case.
After returning home I had to stay with him for another one month. But when I returned back to school, all my all colleagues requested the Principal to consider my case. Without any leaves, my salary continued.
But I started to take extra classes to cover my syllabus that had suffered and the Principal was greatly convinced.
RNTalks: Manju Ji, I want you to think back to five years. Did you envision your career as it is today? What are the changes that you can see?
Manju Lata: Five years ago, many things were different. Though technology was there we were not so much addicted to it. But now technology is swallowing us as we are completely dependent on it for even small things.
RNTalks: I agree but I’m sure you agree that it is this technology that has helped the children study these past 2 years in the pandemic…Was there ever a role you applied for and landed, but weren’t 100% qualified to do? How did you proceed from there?
Manju Lata: Yes, I had always wanted to work as an anchor on TV and radio. Even I had worked for radio as an anchor for five years But this was my part-time job.
Every month I use to get one or sometimes two weeks of contact and the amount I use to get, was sufficient for me, and in this small amount, I completed my B. Ed and M.Ed courses.
I had applied for that post when the wants came but ultimately I couldn’t attend the interview because the interview letter came to me when everything was over. I concentrated on my teaching profession after that.
RNTalks: What do you wish you had known before taking your first responsible role?
Manju Lata: I should have known the consequence of being a captain of the class which was my first responsible role.
RNTalks: You are lucky. In my school days, I never got to be a monitor of the class. Which leadership skills were the most difficult to develop?
Manju Lata: The skill of commanding a mass was the most difficult skill to develop. When I was the captain of the class and after that when I became a teacher, the commanding skill I had to develop. This was a tall challenge because I had a meek voice and my personality was also not up to the mark.
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?
Manju Lata: Yes, I had a difficult boss about 10 to15 years back. He was my Principal. He always wanted to see his staff on the school campus before 8.30 in the morning. If some arrive late by chance, the school gate was not allowed to open.
Once I also was late as some guests had arrived when I was about to step out of the home. I immediately rang him, told him about my problems.
At first, he shouted at me but later on taking the half-day C.L. he agreed to open the gate on the condition that immediately within one hour I have to be on the school premises.
RNTalks: What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how has it proven invaluable and helped you grow?
Manju Lata: A commanding voice and personality one should have ..Moreover he/she. should be true to words, punctual, loving, and sacrificing in nature. It has helped me to grow a lot. I have achieved an important status in the heart of my students and staff
RNTalks: You are a poet, an RJ, and a mentor, how did you develop the skill of speaking so engagingly in front of groups?
Manju Lata: By teaching the students, working as an anchor in radio, addressing the morning assembly and many times have addressed the public during the national days as an anchor and sometimes as a speaker in meetings
RNTalks: Are you considering a career transition? What are some other areas that might be a good fit for you?
Manju Lata: No, I am not considering a career transition But after my retirement, if the situation permits me I would like to join radio or T.V. again. If not I would love to become a floriculturist.
RNTalks: 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?
Manju Lata: Others perceive me as a strong lady who once is determined to do the work takes the thing up to the end.
RNTalks: As a mentor what do you think are the 3 main areas for improvement in today’s education system?
Manju Lata: (1) Education should completely be practical based i.e., the practicalities of life should be enhanced from the very beginning.
(2) Vocational education should be a must
(3) Students should be provided the stream according to their interest from the fifth or sixth standard
(4) Environmental training should become a must along with the introduction of newly revised syllabuses comprising of art and culture and Indian economy, making savings with proper investment .
RNTalks: From your point of view, what should be the role of technology in the process of education?
Manju Lata: In the process of education, technology can play a crucial role. At a time it reaches crores and millions of students. So it can enhance the literacy rate of the country. At the same time, it can encourage vocational education, developing job skills the technology can encourage.
RNTalks: What do you think should be the main goal of a school principal/education?
Manju Lata: The main goal of a school Principal should be the all-around development of the children. He or she must teach the children to be well disciplined. Must know how to handle the staff in a very tricky way.
RNTalks: If you should characterize a great school principal/mentor with three words, which words would you choose?
Manju Lata: Leadership quality, observant and patient
RNTalks: Do you think that the school principal should teach? If they should, why?
Yes, the school Principal should teach. In this way, he/she would be having direct connectivity with the students
RNTalks: From your point of view, what should be the relationship between a mentor/principal and the students?
A balanced friendly relationship should be there between a Principal/mentor and the students.
RNTalks: As a principal, how would you go about building a relationship of trust and collaboration with staff, parents, and students?
Manju Lata: By being true to words and developing a helping attitude, a Principal can build a relationship of trust and collaboration with staff, parents, and students.
RNTalks: 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?
Manju Lata: I give them free books, free tuition, and many times give their school fees also. I encourage them to take part in co-curricular activities too.
RNTalks: I admire you. If we all do our little bit for the underprivileged then our country can really progress. Manju Ji, do you have any role models in your life?
Manju Lata: Except for my mom and dad, I don’t have any role models in my life. They are the ones who have taught me the practicalities of life which lead to success.
RNTalks: 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?
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? *
Manju Lata: Always love everyone in life but with discipline in it. Always follow patience, be observant, tricks to handle the situation.
WOW, that’s awesome! Manju Lata Ji, on behalf of RNTalks, I wish you all the best for your future in mentoring.
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