Being an educational leader in today’s constantly evolving times is a huge responsibility to shoulder and yet a brilliant possibility for self-growth. One such woman educational leader who handles the responsibility of imparting education is Arpita Chakraborty, Principal, Eicher School. She considers herself very fortunate to be in a profession that is about nurturing and engaging learners. During her journey over the years, she has had the privileged opportunity to constantly learn, adapt, discover herself and most importantly feel motivated to continue the journey of experimenting and innovating. She started her career out as a teacher, evolving into a facilitator, administrator and then as a principal to be able to provide the kind of support, and direction needed to foster optimum learning milieu.
Bringing a Difference in the Academic Field
The role of a pedagogical leader and responsibility is about ensuring smooth running of the school administration and creating and sustaining an environment where the needs of all stakeholders are taken care of and positive productive collaboration is ensured between all of them. For the school to maintain its educational quality and positive work ethos, it is imperative that a creative, collaborative and positive set up is built into the system from the base to the top. A happy learning space is the optimum requirement for any learning organization. So creating and sustaining such a positive learning environment is the challenge that every educational leader faces and needs to surmount.
The pandemic unsettled lives in a way no one had ever imagined hither to, so in the face of the pandemic induced limitations, as a school the challenge was to motivate the children and assure them that their teachers and their school was with them at every step. Every family was under distress – physical, financial, emotional. Being away from their peers and teachers and their ‘school’ where the children used to spend the greater part of their days, the various group activities and hands-on learning zones where they learned and played together with their classmates, was very difficult to handle for the students. Being available for them, listening to them, helping them cope up with the stress and difficulties at home and creating an online learning space for them – was how the school started out. Arpita Chakraborty shares “Having dealt with pandemic and the changes brought about due to the pandemic even in the simplest routines of day to day life, we have become more open to the concept of change and any situation having multiple possibilities. I have come to acknowledge that there is always a different way possible to surge ahead and that there cannot be a dead end”. Somehow, battling the pandemic-induced difficulties has made her more optimistic and self-reliant and she feels this has added to her confidence and self-belief.
An inspirational leader
Making the school reach out to the students, bringing the classroom to every student and ensuring that the learning continuum was never interrupted despite the limitations and restrictions that the pandemic imposed on our lives, has been the most gratifying experience for Ms. Arpita. Women in leadership roles develop greater interactivity with students, helping them achieve better engagement with learning and thus improve results. Therefore, Arpita Chakraborty believes that creating more women leaders in education is key to improving education in India and across the world. Arpita Chakraborty stands strong with her viewpoint that, “Women empowerment is definitely a gradual process. And that is simply because a woman’s life has so many different facets and each facet has its own set of restraints and prejudices”, shares Ms. Chakraborty. Although, she understands the fact that to truly uplift, empower and free every woman, in every household, across all strata of the society, is not possible to attain in a short period of time. But nonetheless, a lot has been achieved and inspiring stories have been happening all around us. Every such story of courage, resilience, perseverance and success inspires many others to tread the path and discourages the biased groups to continue their unfairness.
Arpita Chakraborty believes that the number of women in top leadership and management positions is increasing over the past years, and all educational institutions and firms must focus on creating an empathetic workspace for women. At any workplace and not just in the education sector, women need to receive appreciation, recognition and acceptance and better opportunities to undertake challenging tasks. As a leader, Arpita Chakraborty ensures that she leads from the front where she can handle the responsibilities from the front line, standing alongside her team. Arpita Chakraborty has completed her studies in M.Sc. and B.Ed from Delhi University, MBA in Educational administration, PG Diploma in School Leadership and Management from NUEPA. Being amongst strong leaders and observing them, Ms. Chakraborty took the inspiration not from one but various other leaders. She believes that hard work, time-management and work-life balance is the mantra to a successful career.