When Motivation Meets Growth

Exercising team building and motivation to the core, here is the leader of our story, Ms. Bharti Shakya giving us a few glimpses of what a promising leadership looks like. Bharti ma’am is currently a BEO (Block Education Officer) in Sheetalpur District, Etah, Uttar Pradesh. She is someone who doesn’t see achieving targets as a final destination, but as small improvements or building blocks to achieve more in the future and is on a constant lookout for potential opportunities.

I am not satisfied with where we are now, a lot of work still needs to be done, and [there is] a long way to go. I deem it necessary to question the status quo and strive for improvement and address questions like what resources do we have? What speed should we progress at? What type of infrastructure is required? and so on.

As dynamic as the technology

Instead of resorting to convention and convenience, Bharti Ma’am tries to keep her team up to date with the latest tools and benefit from their application to bring micro-improvements in different processes.

Just like how we use google maps to reach our destination, we have to pace up our technical knowledge and use it to navigate the path to achieve the target

She gives special credit to her teammates, Ajnesh, Geeta and Shraddha for designing Google forms which not only made feedback easier but also increased team participation. Bharti Ma’am encouraged that after every team meeting, a Google form be designed with questions aligned with the topics addressed along with feedback questions, which shall ensure every participant is on board with the ideas discussed in the meeting. This measure kept the whole team in-sync and ensured their readiness to act wherever needed.

Monthly meeting with the Q&A session on Google Meet

Initially, the teachers were hesitant to use new modes of communication but Ma’am made sure to acquaint them through repeated training, till they were comfortable to use them easily. Soon, she also started the flow of official information over emails instead of WhatsApp with easy tracking and sharing updates. She trained and re-trained headteachers to conduct meetings on Google meet and arranged regular Q&A sessions to make them comfortable with the mediums and gauge further training requirements.

Breaking the Monotony

She observed that as meetings progress, boredom eventually creeps in. To overcome this, she arranged for a projector and corroborated verbal discussions with the photos from the fieldwork. She also used presentations (PPTs) to formulate creative presentations covering the database of learning outcomes and targets to be covered next. The performance of all the schools was shared using graphs and charts so that teachers can assess their positions and work accordingly. Teachers were asked to share their experiences on the video to ensure data storage of all the work done and also to motivate the team to learn from each other’s work. Noticing positive reactions and increased listening due to the presentation of the data in an interesting form, she continued with it and ensured the installation of projectors in every block. Bharti Ma’am understood the importance that building engagement in curing boredom and thus the projectors instilled a new life to a huge amount of data and the attention of the viewers.

Meeting with teachers from Anganwadi to kickstart a program

A Positive Approach

The pride and affection she demonstrates towards her team, the teachers, and the ARPs (Academic Resource Person) is worth watching. Seeing her team working creatively and passionately is the highlight of her day. On being asked about her source of motivation, she talked fondly about movies like ‘Chak de India’ and ‘Mission Mangal’; they not only inspire her to work harder but also remind her of the primary goal- keep striving to bring improvement. She believes that a lot is yet to be done and every improvement is a fruitful beginning of many more improvements to come.

Problem is the solution in itself

Emerging problems encourage Ma’am like nothing else because she believes that if there’s a problem with a particular technique or an app, it’s a sign that the members have tried it and they are seeking a solution. She listens to the problems of the team members, (teachers, Sankul Shikshaks, ARPs, and Shiksha Mitra) gathers them to ignite a discussion to address the issues, post which the fog clears up and the vision is aligned amongst the members. ‘Initiating a discussion is a step forward to the solution’ is the belief that she imparted throughout the conversation. Be it a meeting after receiving the training to discuss the targets and formulating the action plan or addressing the issues within the team, she never gets tired of problem-solving. But what if this approach gets too tiring and consuming? That’s the best thing about Ma’am, that she never lets it get too much for her team and so every session is preceded with a mediational video to set off the negative energy and breaks with motivational clips in between.

Initiating discussions: First step towards problem solving

Emerging problems encourage Ma’am like nothing else because she believes that if there’s a problem with a particular technique or an app, it’s a sign that the members have tried it and they are seeking a solution. She listens to the problems of the team members, (teachers, Sankul Shikshaks, ARPs, and Shiksha Mitra) gathers them to ignite a discussion to address the issues, post which the fog clears up and the vision is aligned amongst the members.

‘Initiating a discussion is a step forward to the solution’ is the belief that she imparted throughout the conversation.She is not only always ready to solve tiny to huge challenges but also ensures that members of her team are not overwhelmed in the process. Every session planned by her is always preceded with a mediational video to set aside all the apprehensions and with plenty of breaks in between for processing the takeaways.

At one of the workshop with Headteachers, Gram Pradhan and SMC Adhyaksh
Bharti Ma’am has around 500 schools under her supervision, yet the goal continues to be the same: Enhancing student outcomes through motivating and capacity building of teachers. Under Mission Shakti Campaign that has been started by government for safety and empowerment of women, she merged the anganwadi system with the schools, wherein the basic education and life skills will be imparted to the school children by Anganwadi women, hence ensuring independence and self-sufficiency of those women as well.
She not only achieved her own dreams but gave so many students and women an opportunity to be able to fulfill their dreams too. Owing to her active participation in Public Intervention Programmes, 100% of schools in Shitalpur district are now active in Tobacco free Education Institutions for which she has been officially appreciated & recognized by Govt. of Uttar Pradesh. She encouraged the staff members to transform the education system by first transforming and adapting themselves. She, therefore, lays down examples of how continuous micro-improvements, with hope for a better ecosystem, lead us to achieve what we envision.
Srishti Dixit

Srishti Dixit

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