The Journey from Good to Great
A teacher is someone who causes innumerable miracles on a daily basis, but seldom is seen casting her magic. The miracles manifest in a life-altering gentle touch, in an understanding nod, in causing a moment of inspiration while solving math problems, in stories concocted to take students in the heaven of imagination, and in consistently pushing the students to expand and challenge their boundaries. If not for these teachers, great minds of tomorrow wouldn’t have received the nurturing they require and deserve.
At Shiv Nadar School, we recognise, understand and appreciate the role teachers play in making our school a hub of innovation, knowledge and holistic development of each student. In a bid to make these heroes feel like one, with or without a cape, an annual reward and recognition event called ‘Cheers to Peers’ was conceptualised, and has till now completed five memorable editions. Arti Dawar, Head of Human Resources at Shiv Nadar School surmises the journey in these words – “It all began as a simple idea to appreciate and celebrate our teachers – after all, they are the people who enable us to build a fantastic organization! Since the idea was cheering our peers, we decided to name it exactly that – ‘Cheers to Peers’. Now, after 5 years, the concept has acquired a life of its own. Teachers look forward to this day, unique to Shiv Nadar School, when the whole organization, with more than 500 employees, comes together as one big family.”
Indeed, we are one big family that constantly inspires each member to keep bettering themselves. We are a family which recognises the Good, but is committed to journeying on till we achieve the Great. ‘Good to Great’ was the theme and message for the year, commitment to which was reiterated during the course of the day.
Cheers to Peers, or C2P, as it is more popularly known, is a day where our teachers also engage other teachers through performances and displays. Like is fast becoming a norm, the co-scholastic faculty put up an arts display. Our art mentors were appreciated by all, as teachers walked by on the red-carpet, enamoured by the mastery on display.
The Science faculty, for the first time, also came ahead to engage and welcome teachers with some quick brain exercises. They created activities around science principles used on a daily basis – like refraction, flow of electricity, magnetism, inertia – and this experiment with experiential learning proved as effective for co-teachers, as it usually is for students.
The co-scholastic faculty went on to present some beautiful performances on stage, the first of which was an invocation presented by the music faculty, and later, the dance teachers presented an eye-pleasing Odissi recital and the Western Music faculty gave us a lovely musical treat.
Colonel Gopal Karunakaran, CEO, Shiv Nadar School, as always, opened the day with an inspiring speech on reaffirmation of the Vision with which we all set out 5 years ago. The speciality of Colonel Gopal’s engagement is that it carries the wisdom of personal experiences. His years of work in the army, and subsequent engagement in the education sector has left him enriched with parables for leading people to their highest potential – a task which teachers have to undertake on a daily basis.
In addition to this, Colonel Gopal had a surprise! First, a video was played which carried messages directly from students about what they think are important traits in teachers. Later, he invited a few of these students on the stage, completely catching the teachers off-guard, who then talked about the beautiful difference teachers make to their lives in a truly heart-felt manner.
Gopal sir himself is an example of pushing limits. This year, he appeared for the CENTA examination in Social Sciences, and attained the 40th rank nationally! While duly recognising him, we also took a moment to loudly applaud 9 other teachers who achieved ranks under 100, nationally, in their respective domains.
The string of awards continued through the day. Teachers and members of administrative staff were given recognition for their daily dedication to their task. A very special award was given to Raspreet Sidhu, the Sports Anchor at Shiv Nadar School, for her stellar performance as a member of the Indian National Women’s Basketball team in recent tournaments. The rigour and discipline she observes in her pursuit of excellence in sports is looked upto by the entire sports faculty, as well as students.
The next recognition was for our IT faculty, who have been working on preparing our students for national and international events, and winning accolades consistently. These are also the teachers who are delivering a very unique ICT curriculum to students, helping them also design projects which harness skills of technology for solving social issues.
There are some faces in each school, who exude an air of dependability and responsibility, and are always there to help in the carrying out of each task. These, hence, deserve Special-Thanks-And-Recognition, and are hence awarded the STAR honour!
The ABCD (Above-and-Beyond-the-Call-of-Duty) Awards were given to members of the support staff, who work behind the scenes and ensure comfort, safety and smooth functioning of the entire school.
Green Apple Awards are a great favourite of our organization, which insists on fitness and healthy lifestyle. Colonel Gopal states it succinctly – ‘Healthy teachers go far’. And thus, to keep the spirit of fitness alive, the Green Apple Awards are given to teachers who are recognised as the fittest, through an athletics and Yoga drill organized by the sports faculty. Aside from individual performers, the award is also given in a collective category for the highest participation. With 98% members running in the field and stretching on a Yoga mat, the Shiv Nadar School Core Office took this running trophy home.
A new award introduced this year was called the Teachers’ Best Practice Award. One teacher from each school was recognised for using an innovative practice in her clasroom, which had shown great results. Giving this award was also an opportunity to share the practice with everyone, so it can be applied in similar and suitable classroom situations.
Another new award instituted this year was the Trustee’s Award, given to Kunwar Brahmaditya Singh, from the Noida Sports Faculty. The award was given to Mr. Singh for the exemplary commitment in his work, not only on the sports field, but outside it as well. Besides being a level three FIBA certified coach (highest certification given to basketball coaches in India), Mr. Singh is a coach who relates to his students, and thus mentors them even beyond the sports field. Mr. Shikhar Malhotra, Trustee, Shiv Nadar School, himself came onto the stage to give away this award.
The last set of awards, the most awaited ones, were the eponymous, Cheers to Peers Awards! Given across different departments of all the three schools, these awards are decided on the basis of peer nomination and review process.
A great moment during the day was achieved when our special guest for the day, Ms. Roshni Nadar Malhotra, engaged with Colonel Gopal in an In-Conversation session. She was quizzed on everything, from her work, to her life, to the upcoming projects, and all the questions were tackled by her with a disarming candour. As the CEO of HCL Enterprise, and with several other professional roles and responsibilities under her hat, Ms. Malhotra’s life evokes much curiosity and motivation in those who work as a part of her organization, its extended family, and even beyond. Her session took one on a gentle journey through her life – her beginnings and early memories as Mr. Nadar’s daughter, her education – both school and college, initial phases of her career and later moving into the HCL Corporation. The most touching anecdotes, however, were revealed in the tales she narrated about Vidyagyan Leadership Academy, another initiative of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, working to bring about a dynamic change in the rural education landscape of India.
The day ended with a lavish lunch for the teacher, but not before Mr. Shikhar Malhotra took the stage to share his overwhelming appreciation for how far the schools had come in the span of half a decade. He made it a point to emphasize that each one who is a part of the school contributes towards making it climb higher on the ladder of success. He expressed his happiness with the good work being done, but did not forget to reiterate that the ‘great’ was a journey we were to undertake on a daily basis, and strive towards it with unrelenting passion.
Oh, and before they went over to the lavish meal, our teachers also shook a leg, in the flash mob-cum-dance session organized as a final surprise! The Cheers to Peers were heard the loudest here!Oct 1, 2017 by Shiv Nadar School