Guru Nanak English High School is a private unaided school run by Guru Nanak Trust, with Maharashtra State Board recognition since 1983. The school is located at Andheri in Mumbai. Total strength is about 700 students with 12 teachers. Majority of the students are first generation learners. Ms Taranjit Kaur Sethi has been the principal of this school for the past 2 years.

Challenge faced by the school leader

A major challenge for the school was to find ways to improve learning levels of students while managing small but packed classrooms, low teacher salaries and challenges of managing different roles as a teacher. As a result, teachers expected a lot from the school and the school leader expected teachers to take initiatives on their own.

Intervention by the ISLI program manager to support the school leader

As part of ISLI’s SIDP (School Improvement and Development Plan) discussion, the school leader and the ISLI program manager brainstormed to come up with the project called “Teacher-Led Change”- a platform for teachers to voice aspects that they would like to see change in the school, led by the teacher and supported by the school leader and other teachers. This was the beginning to enable teachers to voice their expectations and to empower the school leader to find ways to support her teachers.

Steps taken by the school leader to address the challenges

The school leader with the ISLI support, took a series of meetings to introduce, build the idea and create conditions for its acceptance.

In the current phase, all secondary teachers have identified one area they would like to see change, mostly around learning. Few wish to change the way children learn (rote learning) while few others have identified to support students who are unable to read at basic levels. Few have voiced their inability to manage big classrooms.

Impact of the project

  • All secondary teachers are working on one problem area that they face every day.
  • The teachers now have a system to voice their concerns, the system which can be improvised year on year.
  • As a result, the space developed allows the school leader and teachers to engage in a continuous cycle of school development.

Next steps

Each month, the school leader and ISLI support each teacher to identify next steps and shape their individual ‘teacher-led change’ project. Through this SIDP (School Improvement and Development Plan) project, ISLI supports the school leader to design the initial framework, plan teacher meetings, and to support teachers in planning for activities. ISLI also supports the school leader to monitor the progress of each teacher-led project.