Miss J. Simoes, M.Com, B.Ed
Principal, Wisdom World School & Director, Schools Program
Image Source: theteacher.in
Miss Simoes has teaching experience across a variety of teaching fields, right from the grassroot level of pre-nursery, till Std. XII.
Ranging from history and geography, English, commerce, economics, commercial applications, organisation of commerce, business studies and secretarial practice to name a few, her teaching experience is diverse in nature.
She also has vast administrative experience. She has been the Vice-Principal of St. Mary’s School, Boys’ Section, Pune and the Principal of St. Mary’s School and St. Mary’s Junior College (ISC). The Junior College ISC was, in fact, started under her leadership.
Currently heading Wisdom World School, Wakad, in Pune, she has attended various workshops and conferences in India and internationally. She constantly upgrades her skills and talent to be able to take her school to glorious heights.
She was recently conferred with the prestigious 'National Award for Teachers' by the President of India. Wisdom World School, Wakad, has bloomed in four years under her able guidance, along with an excellent and experienced team of teachers.
As a principal with a National Award, what do you think has helped you reach where you have?
I started my career 33 years ago in 1981, having learnt everything I could, right from the grassroot level. I began humbly as an assistant to the class teacher in Ornellas School (which caters to children from economically weaker sections of the society) and then qualified myself and worked my way up to class teacher of all three levels of schooling at St. Mary’s School (which caters to the elite). I taught various classes and subjects, and learnt administration and execution of all educational policies of the school under my mentor Mrs. Elizabeth Matthew. I have always kept myself abreast of new developments in education. My passion and commitment to my vocation surpassed all other commitments and responsibilities, often neglecting my home and family. My larger vision was to make a difference to over 2800 families at any given time, as compared to looking after my own single family. I am involved in every department of the school, be it teaching, curriculum planning, concerts, extra-curricular activities, administration and execution of all school policies. So here I am now, Principal of Wisdom World School and Director of the Schools Programme of Vishwakarma Purple Educational Trust.
What according to you are the key ingredients of a successful institution?
An institution that is dynamic but sensitive to the needs of all its stakeholders, especially the students and their parents. Besides, the fact that it must keep up with all the latest technological developments while having valuable traditions and strong ethics as its foundation.
It must have a management that understands educational needs of not only our children but society at large. Besides, I strongly believe that children learn by example. So, a good institution must have a sterling staff of teachers who live up to their school motto. Moreover, children get influenced by their parents and the environment at home too. This makes it important for school policies to be supported by the parents. Of course, the other factors that contribute to a good school like sound curriculum planning, balanced with appropriate co-curricular activities, go without saying. Great infrastructure is again, a basic factor, but of no consequence without the human element, i.e. great teachers! A school is also as good as its top team comprising of the principal, vice-principal and co-ordinators. Overall, the ethos of the school is reflected by the management and principal of the school. The vision of a good school is to recognise that all children are different and that these differences create opportunities for adults and children alike, to learn more about themselves and each other. Helping children to develop good attitudes and values should be the aim of a good school.
There is a popular view that co-curricular activities help enrich student-teacher relationship. What is your view on this?
Of course, they do! Besides this, they certainly bring to the fore, latent talents and abilities of children, and help build their self-confidence. Sometimes, in the rush for academic excellence, these talents may not be spotted by the teachers. Outside the classroom and in informal settings, the children and the teachers see different dimensions of each other, paving the way for wonderful communication, thereby solving many problems, which may be a result of miscommunication and misunderstanding.
This is the end of part 1 of the interview. To be continued…