“Discipline plays a great role in moulding one’s character” – Principal Rajkumarie Singh serves 50 years as an educator
The idea of teaching is not just about the academic pursuit and scholarly achievements, but the cultivation of sterling attitudes and conduct, which are essential in creating rounded students.
Principal of the Hindu College at Cove and John, Rajkumarie Singh has spent 50 years of her life in the profession, and trademarks this perspective in her classroom.
On the note of this achievement, she spoke with Guyana Times on how her teaching profession has evolved, after the deep desire of being an educator sparked at a tender age. Singh recalled growing up at Cove and John on the East Coast of Demerara, where she attended the Hindu College.
Shortly after graduating, she applied for the job and was placed at the Dharmic Rama Krishna Primary in Georgetown. She would then leave to attend the Government Training College, now Cyril Potter College of Education, for two years as a career move to develop her skills.
Thereafter, she was sent back to the Hindu Primary School, this time as a teacher before being transferred as Principal to the Cove and John Secondary. The 66-year-old has served as Head Teacher of the Hindu College since 2008. Throughout her career, Singh attended the University of Guyana where she completed a degree in Literature and a diploma in education.
The Head Teacher explained that in her earlier days, she was influenced by the seniors at the school and this prompted her to follow in their footsteps, particularly Swami Purnananda after whom a primary school in the compound is named after.
Speaking in the interview, she described, “As a child, I have always saw myself becoming a teacher and at age 16 when I finished secondary school, I applied for a job and was placed at the Dharmic Rama Krishna School. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I always wanted to teach and serve but I think it has to do with the life I have embraced…I knew that staying here was the best thing for me.”
Now, with five decades of experience, Singh said discipline is still the cornerstone of educating children. There are other aspects of general well-being which she has adapted in order to ensure that children are healthy as they learn. She noted that most of the children were not as academically inclined as others but they were able to develop cognitively through this technique.
“Maybe it was my fortune but I have always worked with those children that weren’t the high flyers. When they come here, they begin to realise that they have the potential to work. The discipline and all that goes into making a child realise his or her dream is done. One of the things I have learnt is that discipline plays a great role in moulding one’s character,” the educator expressed.
The educator added, “As I teacher, I worked with getting the values right like punctuality, regularity, adherence to truth, believing in one’s self, honesty, integrity and just working to realise one’s dreams.”
Additionally, she said nutrition has always been a pivotal part of her students’ lives and ensuring they practice healthy habits. This entails a healthy diet and including physical exercises in their daily activities. High emphasis is also placed on reading.
“With packed curriculum, we never get to do everything that we want to so I always emphasise that they walk rather than taking a taxi, riding their bicycles. Every single morning at this school, the gates are opened at 07:30 and everyone comes in and they read. I would be there with the teachers and then at assembly, they share what they read. That has been going on for a very long time and it helps tremendously,” Singh shared.
Looking back now at her journey, the educator described her experience as “challenging but enjoyable”. She said the most important aspect of being a good teacher is dedication and sincerity to the job.
“You have to know that the children that you have in front of you are going to be tomorrow’s generation and have the patience to take them through. Whatever values you are going to impart in them will take them through. You have to always encourage them that they have the potential to do what they want to. Sincerity is a great part of it,” was her advice to young teachers.
For now, Singh plans on continuing to teach at the institution. She also serves as a Commissioner at the Ethnic Relations Commission and is part of the Rights of the Child Commission. She is also a tutor in education management.