3 June 2021

Welcome to the New Academic Year 2021-2022


Dear Parents,

If the past one year has taught us anything, it is that we all need to learn how to adapt to a constantly and rapidly changing world, and that we all need each other.


To some extent it made us revisit the basics. For some it was ‘stop and smell the roses’, and yet for others ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. Some learnt the meaning of gratitude, and some that true wealth is health. Some of our students lost a parent, and some of our parents lost their business; Some teachers lost a family member, and some lost their health - the trials and tribulations revealed character and spirit.


There are those who are genuinely struggling, and there are those needing less support, and then there are many who are grateful to have not had any major setbacks.


The pandemic has ravaged some families more than others, and those ravaged need more help and support to get through this. Our efforts have been to help those that have been ravaged.


We have lent our support, our ears, our shoulders, our school, and our time to those genuinely in need, and we could only do that because we have a large and wonderful community of parents who understand the difference between equality and equity.


The New Academic Year

In the new academic year, our focus continues to be on going beyond the ability to read and write, and to develop the ability to

  • reflect and reason

  • empathise and embrace, and

  • introspect and internalise.


We are building our curriculum and our assessments around this focus, with a concerted effort to move away from a marks-obsessed society.


Children are like little plants that need watering, nourishment and the right environment to bloom. Just as we don’t pull out a plant frequently to measure how long its roots have grown, and we don’t count how many leaves it sprouts daily, we must focus on the larger developmental goals of our children. When the focus is solely on examinations and marks, the tendency is often to ignore the soft skills, life skills, values, and personality trait development.


Research reveals that the younger generations have been growing up feeling entitled, and lacking the ability to deal with disappointments and failure.


A couple of months ago wrestler Ritika Phogat (17), a cousin of the Phogat sisters, committed suicide in Haryana’s Charkhi Dadri district after she lost the final bout of a tournament. Ritika took the extreme step on the night of 15 March 2021, as she was upset over losing to her rival by one point in the final bout of a championship.


What a tragic loss of a life that showed so much promise, all for a one-point loss in a wrestling match.


It is now more important than ever for us to instill confidence in our children to realise that failure is not the opposite of success, it is a part of success. That, if you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.


Our approach to this is multipronged-

  1. Getting our Grade 8 children to teach Value Education at the lower grades, from Grade 1 to Grade 7. When children teach children, they learn valuable life skills: the art of communication, facing an audience, explaining one’s perspectives, or holding one’s own, besides of course imbibing the values they teach and preach; all of it in a non-threatening environment without the burden of assessments.

  2. Inclusivity: Let us encourage our children to talk to the shy child. Reach out to the nervous child. Sit with the differently-abled. Share their tiffin with the lonely child. Tutor their friends who are struggling in a subject. Help a classmate who missed classes due to an illness. Let us teach them not to discriminate on the basis of color, caste, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We teach them responsibility when we not only allow them, but also prod them to look out for those that need help.

  3. Understanding and accepting Body Positivity. One common form of bullying is body shaming, and we would like to sensitise our children through dialogue, encouraging them to focus on the positives. It is not cool to laugh and make fun of someone for being tall, short, fat, bespectacled, skinny, or awkward. Don’t encourage jokes that body shame. Don’t encourage jokes that shame religious beliefs, dietary preferences, color of skin, income status, or sexual orientation. Let’s raise our children to empathise with and embrace everyone, even if they are different from us.

  4. Initiating conversations on Gender Diversity and Gender neutrality. At the very basic, challenging old norms, “Boys don’t cry”, “Girls must learn cooking”, etc. We would like our children to grow up acknowledging and accepting gender diversity and gender neutrality, acknowledging and accepting those that don’t easily fit into the binary gender norms. The older children have been raising questions on sexuality and sexual orientation in the classrooms, and we recognise that we need to normalise conversations around LGBTQIA+.

  5. Pride is concerned with ‘Who is Right?’ Humility is concerned with ‘What is Right?’. Children learn such behaviour from adults, and when we don’t show respect, gratitude, and humility in our dealing with people around, our children learn that it is fine to be rude, to shout and scream to get your way through, and to be ungrateful for everything that people do for them. Giving our children everything they want makes them demanding and ungrateful. And they never learn how to be self-controlled. Think about this the next time you give in to a screaming child.


We will succeed in our efforts only if we have the unflinching and unconditional support of our parents in all our initiatives.


What can you do as a parent, and what must you not do:

  1. If you don’t receive any call from the school office regarding your child’s behaviour or academic performance, you can be rest assured that your child is growing up well, with the right values, attitude, and age appropriate learning milestones. So, pat yourself on the back, your parenting skills and style are effective. Don’t beat yourself up about an exam missed due to an illness, or poor performance in a subject in the formative assessment.

  2. If the school does call you to discuss your child’s performance or behaviour, please do not panic. Work with the school to correct your child’s wrong behaviour, inappropriate attitude, or lagging academic performance. Going on the defensive, blaming the teacher, making excuses for your child, covering up for your child would do more damage than good in the long run. The school team doesn’t hate any child or parent. Have faith in the people looking after your child in school, and work with us to help raise children to become responsible adults.

  3. Stay away from the University of WhatsApp. Everyone and their uncle has an opinion on everything, regardless of their education, experience, or expertise. They offer half-baked solutions to problems - imaginary or real. They offer solutions that suit only themselves, and not the fraternity. So, refrain from adding to the din on WhatsApp. Remember, written words on WhatsApp can come back to haunt you. The school has a strict view on false propaganda, rumour-mongering, and slandering.

  4. Have faith in the school. Don’t be influenced by external agencies with hidden agendas. They don’t have your child’s interest at heart.

  5. RESPECT the teachers, the staff, the administration team. Every problem has a solution. It is easier to find the solution with a smile, without stressing anyone in the system.


Career Guidance

We have incorporated a Career Guidance page on our website, which will have presentations on different fields of study. These will be accessible to students and parents via the school website.

rcis.rustomjee.com/career guidance

Log in using your official school email address to view these presentations.


Cialfo

This year, we are happy to announce our collaboration with CIALFO, a career counselling platform for our students, with the aim of guiding students of Grades 9 to 12 in selecting undergraduate courses that fit with their aptitude and aspirations.


Say NO to tuitions

We reinforce that the best way to equip our children for the future is to teach them how to learn. With this mission, we have been repeating our message of “Say No to Tuition”.

Tuitions make children dependent, and they don’t learn the importance of taking responsibility for their own learning. Besides, children who go for tuition have a shorter attention span during regular school classes, which disturbs the learning environment for everyone. We continue to encourage parents to ‘Say NO to tuitions’ and have faith in the school teachers to do a sincere job.

Get vaccinated

We encourage all parents to take the vaccination as soon as they get the opportunity and, also, vaccinate their children whenever the Government offers the opportunity. Vaccination is the only way we can all fight the virus, and get back to our routine. Remember small steps in the right direction can turn out to be the biggest step of your life.

Nothing can trouble you more than your thoughts. Stay positive.

Have a happy, healthy and safe year ahead.

Warm regards,

Dr Hanif Kanjer

Founder Director and Dean

Rustomjee Cambridge International School & Junior College

I teach because I can.

5 September 2021

https://www.facebook.com/hkanjer/posts/10158760179815127


In engineering school I was the de-facto tutor for many of my classmates and friends. During exams I would have many friends who would come to me for last minute studies or doubt clarification. At that time, I thought I was doing everyone a favour by making the time to teach them. I took pride in the fact that they needed me.

What I didn’t realize then, and I have learnt today is that all those friends, and friends of friends, who came to me then were doing me a huge favor by asking me to teach them. They were preparing me for my future career as a teacher and educator.

After engineering school, I spent 12 years in the corporate world in the areas of management consulting and IT before transitioning full-time into education, at the insistence of my best friend from engineering school, Boman Irani, who asked me to quit my job with Infosys in New Jersey (USA) to build his fledgling school.

His words, “I want you to grab this opportunity to make a difference, to make an impact!”

His promise, “You’ll gain love, respect and popularity for the work you do!”

Everyone thought I had lost my marbles to quit a well-paying job with a leading Indian IT company in the Mecca of capitalism to work in education in a sleepy northern suburb of Mumbai, Dahisar.

Some tittered “an MBA from London Business School was going to teach nursery rhymes and ABCD.”

But none of that dithered me from my decision. I was never one to be impacted by snide remarks or taunts, for I always saw people’s remarks as their opinion of me, and their opinions never defined the real me.

While I didn’t teach nursery rhymes or ABCD (I salute all teachers who can work with younger kids, which requires a completely different set of skills), I did get involved with developing the pre primary curriculum and conducting teacher training programs, and since then I have had many opportunities to grow. I helped establish S P Jain School of Global Management’s first international campus in Dubai in 2004 as a consulting director, and then on I have been teaching Business Strategy, Strategic Innovation, and Finance across leading business schools in Dubai, Singapore and India.

Today, our group comprises 10,000 students, 450 teachers, 375 staff members, across 4 branches spanning K-12 and MBA.

I feel guilty telling people I enjoy what I do, and that I don’t have any Monday morning blues.

I feel privileged that I have been given this opportunity to teach.

Over the years some students have become good friends, some family, some business associates, and some even colleagues. We have students who have studied in our institution, and have joined us either as full-time or part-time teachers or as visiting faculty members - our tribe grows.

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Kudos to all teachers, students and parents for showing the determination to learn in these tough times, and setting the trail ablaze.

Happy Teachers’ Day.

Dr Hanif Kanjer

Founder Director, Rustomjee Cambridge International School and Junior College

March 2020 IGCSE and A Level Results

19 May 2020

https://www.facebook.com/hkanjer/posts/10158423785165127


Dear Parents,

Last year we took a conscious decision of not focusing on examination results, and instead celebrating efforts.

So, here’s what we are celebrating about our IGCSE March 2020 results in the midst of Lockdown 4.0 and the gloomy world of COVID19 news:

We celebrate our continuous successes, 13th IGCSE batch at Dahisar, and 1st IGCSE batch in Thane.

We celebrate our 12th A-Level batch at Dahisar

We celebrate the diligence, commitment, and sincerity of our students. We celebrate their enthusiastic participation in their last annual day at school, just a few days prior to the IGCSE board exams.

We celebrate parents who took the courageous decision of not sending their children for tuition, and believing in the school, the teachers, and their child’s own potential. These parents are the true torch-bearers of change who have imbibed our philosophy, “When a child learns to learn, the child has learnt for life”.

We celebrate parents who attended each and every open house after each of the three prelims, and focussed on providing the right support to their child.

We celebrate parents who created the right atmosphere in their homes for a conducive studying environment for their child.

We celebrate teachers who corrected voluminous bundles of past papers, mock papers, prelims.

We celebrate teachers who took on smaller groups of students for doubt clearing, and additional tutorials based on the needs of each child.

We celebrate teachers who played the role of a friend, parent and mentor - all steamrolled into one.

We celebrate our students’ gripe on making silly mistakes or missing the keyword in a question, and realising it immediately on completion of the exam, and in fact asking to resit the exam in the next session. Isn’t it wonderful that students are able to self-assess their potential even before the exams are marked?!

We celebrate our counsellors who counselled troubled minds.

We, also, celebrate naughty students who willingly (ok, maybe not so willingly) surrendered their phones to the Principal/Director, and who will regale their friends, families, children and grandchildren with stories of their impetuous teens.

We celebrate our dedicated Principal and head mistresses. They dealt with courier guys bungling up deliveries, making international calls to CEOs of courier companies to trace the papers and ensuring they reach the destination for evaluation. They dealt with a student’s panic attack in the midst of an exam caused by undue and unnecessary pressure on performance. They dealt with exam supervisors having personal crises in their homes during the exams. They dealt with student injuries and health concerns. And they aced the Cambridge examination inspection at both our campuses in Dahisar and Thane with excellent remarks for conduct of the examination from the Examination Inspector.

And for the cherry on the top - we are, also, celebrating the scores

100% result at IGCSE (Grade 10) and A-Level (Grade 12) exams

96.6% Highest overall score

100% in Math

99% in Chemistry

98% in Biology

98% in Physics

96% in Economics

94% in ICT

94% in Global Perspectives

93% in Hindi

93% in Business Studies

91% in English FLE

97% in English ESL

We celebrate those who scored 100/100 in Math with equal aplomb as we celebrate the one who achieved a 68/100 in Math after a 28/100 in the 1st Prelim.

We celebrate the life lessons imbibed by our IGCSE students: ‘it is the little efforts that can make a big difference’.

We are, indeed, proud of our students who have overcome the challenges of a tough curriculum that requires them to apply their mind, instead of learning by rote, and have evolved into thinking individuals. Where the assessment is done to reward effort and skills and not just score perfect numbers .

We continue to work towards moving away from the unhealthy trend of solely focusing on Grade 10 exams and marks, to helping each student discover his or her potential.

We continue to encourage parents to ‘say No to tuitions’ and have faith in the school teachers to do a sincere job.

Dr Hanif Kanjer

Founder Director

Rustomjee Cambridge International School & Junior College (estd. 2006)

Dahisar * Virar * Thane


Corona Virus Pandemic

Dear Parents,

The WHO has declared the Novel Corona virus as a pandemic, and there have been official reports of positive-tested cases in Mumbai.

Kindly note that the Government has issued an advisory for all incoming international passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany to undergo self-imposed quarantine for 14 days from the date of travel.

We have been inundated with calls in all our schools this morning with parents concerned about the spread of the Novel Corona virus. There have, also, been a couple of situations where the school had to debar students from attending school as they had a recent travel history to one of the countries under the Government Advisory list.

While in these couple of instances the school was forewarned by other concerned parents who reported the travel history, we are concerned that the school may not have complete details of all children or their families who may have travelled to one of the countries with wide spread cases of the virus.

Given this pandemic, and in the interest of health and safety of all 10,000 students across our 4 schools, the School is taking an immediate call to declare an early-summer break for Grades 1 to 9 immediately starting 13th March 2020, with final exams being cancelled for Grades 1 to 8 and grade promotion decision will be based on the average score of the previous exams conducted during the academic year.

For grade 9, we are working out the details of conducting the exams, and we will revert with the details soon.

While this may cause inconvenience to a few, it is the need of the hour taking into account the well-being of the student community.

The unfortunate reality of COVID-19 is that even the healthiest amongst us can easily become a disease vector for others whose age and/or underlying health conditions place them at a higher risk of fatality from the virus. This is a risk we are not willing to take.

We look forward to your cooperation at this time for the safety and health of our children, while the environment restores itself. At times, Nature puts things in order, and we need to obey it.

Thank you.

Dr Hanif Kanjer

Founder Director

Rustomjee Cambridge

Dahisar Virar and Thane

Rustomjee International School (SSC) Dahisar West.

12 March 2020

Welcome to the new academic year

10 June 2019

https://www.facebook.com/hkanjer/posts/10157363199225127


This letter has taken some time because of a change in our thinking and approach towards certain aspects of education, particularly focusing on marks and results. While we are extremely happy with the 100% results, and the outstanding academic achievements of our students, we have decided to downplay this as we witness an increasing trend towards an unnecessary focus on Grade 10 exams and marks, and we wish to pause and rewind.

This is not to say we don’t wish to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our hardworking students, but that we would rather celebrate the efforts more than the results.

Because in life, the results may not always be as per our expectation but our efforts must not reduce.

To dispel any rumour about our results IGCSE 2019, we present the highlights:

- 100% result

- 100% scores in Math and Chemistry

- a significantly large proportion of our students in the high 90s

- 100 students out of 132 have scored distinction and above,

with rest scoring 60% and above

We are proud of our students who have overcome the challenges of a tough curriculum that requires them to apply their mind, instead of learning by rote, and have evolved into thinking individuals.

We extend an open-invitation to past PTEC members who are welcome to review our results on behalf of the parents.

This year we hope to focus on a few areas that impact our students and our society.

1. Say NO to Tuitions

An area of particular concern for us is the skewed importance being given to tuition classes across all age groups. We request all parents to pause and ponder whether it is truly fair to the child to study for 6 hours in a school, and then attend tuition classes for two to four hours?

When does the child get the time for self-learning and reflection?

Research has shown that unstructured time contributes significantly to the development of all the faculties in young children. However, with the current trend of over-packing a child’s schedule, children are left with zero unstructured time. How can such a strict schedule ever benefit a young child?

Some parents reason that since both parents are working, there is no one to take up the child’s studies, and tuition class only ensures that the child completes his homework and his revision. If only we could hear ourselves when we say such things, we will become aware of the huge compromise we are making in our child’s learning process. Most tuition classes are nothing but baby-sitting centers. Does true learning ever happen in tuition classes?

Some students who struggle in a subject might need tuition, but that’s a decision that parents need to take jointly in consultation with the School. In some cases, tuition may be required for those who face certain learning disabilities. However, the trend we observe is that even students scoring 75% and above are being sent to tuition classes because the parents believe 75% isn’t enough.

If your child needs to be supervised or engaged while you are at work, it would be better to enroll you child in activities that focus on building the personality of your child. It could be a rigorous sport like football, or a discipline like Indian classical dance that requires continuous efforts for 5 or more years.

Encouraging your child how to learn by himself would be the preparation you could give your child for the future. Children who learn by themselves, not only understand concepts better, but also, have a higher success rate in life.

Please come and talk to us at school as to how you could better engage your child, and prepare your child to become a self-learner instead of depending on tuition.

2. Rain Water Harvesting

Our country as well as our State is witnessing some tough times with regards to the scarcity of water due to a prediction of below-normal rainfall. It is imperative that we as citizens actively implement rain-water harvesting in our societies and communities.

At School, we have our rain water harvesting system which is simple, effective, and not too expensive. We would be glad to showcase our system to parents or volunteer groups who might want to implement similar systems within their residential societies. Do spread the word, and schedule an appointment with our admin team to learn how simple the system is.

We will be showing our teachers and our students the system, and we will schedule visits for past and present PTEC members too.

If we harvest rain-water, we might alleviate to some extent this water challenge facing our State, and contribute to making a better environment.

3. Value Education and Peer Learning

Over the past year, it has been brought to our notice that there appears to be a gap in the value-system with regards to students helping their classmates with study notes and other academic support. Apparently, if a student misses school due to an illness or due to a sports event, it is the parent who approaches the class teacher for a copy of the notes. If secondary school children have to depend on their parents to get them these notes, we have all failed our children in providing basic skills and values.

What kind of children are we raising if we do not inculcate the value of ‘help thy friend, help thy neighbour’?

In our generation, our classmates were our support system outside the classroom, with study notes, last-minute help with a difficult subject, and even with homework help. That helped us build life-long friendships, and helped us fight many challenges happily.

It is sad and surprising that we are depriving our children of such an important aspect of sharing and of an opportunity for peer-learning.

The School is going to actively intervene to implement a peer-learning system, and we look forward to parental support and encouragement of children when they help their peers out. Remember, when one teaches, two learn. And all the good we do, comes back to us as that is the circle of life.

4. Skills-based learning and assessment

To succeed in life, one needs knowledge as well as skills. However, often development of skills is not appreciated by many parents who seek metrics to evaluate the performance of their child.

Whilst proficiency in a language can be assessed through a formative and summative assessment, skills associated with the language that builds personality are more difficult to assess. For example, public speaking skills, presentation skills, debating skills, drama and expression, are skills which aren’t reflected in a student’s mark sheet. Evaluation of these skills is subjective, and it, also, presents a logistics challenge.

We may not be able to immediately bring these into the mark sheet; however, we desire to bring a stronger focus to these areas. We are talking with experts and peers, and we are open to listening to ideas from parents too. We are confident parents will actively encourage their children to imbibe these life-skills.

5. University of Whatsapp

Technology has made our lives easier, and at the same time it has become a potent tool for harassment, stress, and unwarranted gossip.

We request parents to be prudent in the use of Whatsapp, and avoid unnecessary ranting and raving over subjects, marks, timing, tiffins, etc on Whatsapp groups.

The PTEC members in the past year have complained about receiving calls at 11:30pm, 5am, 6:30am, and through the day.

We ask parents to put themselves in the shoes of the person receiving these calls and messages incessantly or at odd hours, and empathise with them before typing out a message or making that call.

A crocodile in your living room would definitely be an emergency, and you wouldn’t need to look at the time to call out for help. But, a book lost, an answer not corrected, a half-mark deducted, or a discipline note in the diary doesn’t require ranting and raving.

If you are concerned and perturbed, sure you have every right to seek an explanation. Do you have a right to demand it at 11pm? NO.

If it is urgent, trust us, everyone will act on it promptly. Follow protocol and courtesy at all times. No one appreciates rudeness.

The School is going to take a strict view on random ranting on Whatsapp which disturbs the peaceful and cordial environment of a school community.

Spreading false rumours or half-truths on hearsay without knowing the full story is prohibited.

6. Just Chill

If your child is unwell, health is a bigger priority than the FA or even the SA. Don’t send an ill child to school, particularly if the child has a contagious disease.

If there is a wedding or a religious function which is more important, and your child needs to go with you, take permission and go have fun. Do not stress the School or your child with requests for a re-exam or a change of exam dates. Life experiences are equally important for your child to have fun memories.

It is important for you to enjoy all the moments of schooling along with your child.

A little bit of courtesy, a little bit of understanding, a little benefit of doubt in certain situations given to the School team, fellow-parents, and other students would make it fun for everyone.

Because that’s our philosophy, Learning has to be fun.

Have a great year ahead.

Warm regards,

Dr Hanif Kanjer

Founder Director,

Rustomjee Cambridge International School & Junior College


From the Hare's perspective

Actually, everyone throughout the world has kept giving the example of the Tortoise…saying that slow and steady wins the race, and emphasizing the value of persistence and dedication.

Well ! No one has ever bothered to ask the Hare his side of the story…

So here’s the story from a different point of view…

**************

I met the Hare and sat down with him for a heart to heart talk.

This is what he had to say after we spent the better part of a balmy summer afternoon getting to know one other.

It was a wonderful experience, believe me..

“Yes, I am the hare who lost.

No, I did not get lazy or complacent.

Let me explain.

I was hopping over the meadows near the hills and looked back to realize that the tortoise was nowhere to be seen.

Assured of my healthy lead, I decided to take a short nap under the large banyan tree near the pond.

The anticipation of the race had kept me up all night.

For days, that old silly tortoise had boasted about his ability to plod for hundreds of miles without stopping.

Life is a marathon, he said, not a sprint.I wanted to show him that I could run both far and fast.

The shade of the tree was like an umbrella.

I found an almost oval rock, covered it with grass, and turned it into a makeshift pillow.

I could hear the leaves rustling and the bees buzzing – it felt they were collaborating and even conspiring to put me to sleep.

And it didn’t take them long to succeed.

I saw myself drifting on a log in a beautiful stream of water.

As I came near the shore, I found an old man, with a flowing beard, sitting on a rock in a meditative pose. He opened his eyes, gave me an all-knowing smile, and asked:

“Who are you?”

“I am a hare. I am running a race.”

“Why?”

“To prove to all the creatures in the jungle that I am the fastest.”

“Why do you want to prove that you are the fastest?”

“So that I get a medal which will give me status which will give me money which will get me food…”

“There is already so much food around.” He pointed to the forest in the distance. “Look at all those trees laden with fruits and nuts, all those leafy branches”

“I also want respect. I want to be remembered as the fastest hare who ever lived.”

“Do you know the name of the fastest deer or the largest elephant or the strongest lion who lived a thousand years before you?”

“No.”

“Today you have been challenged by a tortoise.

Tomorrow, it will be a snake.

Then it will be a zebra.

Will you keep racing all your life to prove that you are the fastest?”

“Hmm. I didn’t think about it.

I don’t want to race all my life.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I want to sleep under a banyan tree on a makeshift pillow while the leaves rustle and the bees buzz.

I want to hop over the meadows near the hills and swim in the pond.”

“You can do all these things this very moment.

Forget the race.

You are here today but you will be gone tomorrow.”

I woke up from my sleep.

The ducks in the pond looked happy.

I jumped into the pond, startling them for a moment.

They looked at me quizzically.

“Weren’t you supposed to be racing with the tortoise today?”

“It’s pointless.

An exercise in futility.

All I want is to be here.

Hopefully, someday, someone will tell the world my story.

*That I lost the race but got back my life*

**********

PS: I am not the author.


Behind the Scenes

30 January 2020

https://www.facebook.com/hkanjer/posts/10158021557930127


There are tears (crying) and tears (tearing apart), flaring tempers, and emotional blackmailing; our Annual Shows’ “Behind the Curtains” could make a blockbuster all by itself.

So, here’s a sneak peak into what goes on behind the scenes of the mammoth task of putting on stage 4,600 students from Kindergarten to Grade 9, across our schools in Dahisar, Virar, and Thane.

1. The Rejections

From ideas to scripts, and multiple drafts, while some authors get attached to their scripts, there are others that don’t find it exciting, and want a change. And the dirty task is left to the Bad Cop who needs to get the job done.

Then the scouting for songs begins. If the song is good, it doesn’t fit the scene. If it fits the scene, then the choreography is a challenge. If the choreography is managed, then there are students who don’t approve the steps.

The choreographer teacher cries, the principal intervenes, the students admonished, the students cry, and then they apologise, and they are back to the same dance teacher, same song, the same choreography, and one wonders what the drama was all about.

2. The Struggle

There are those who don’t want to act, and there are those who don’t want to dance. There are those who want to do both, dance and act, and then those who don’t want to do either.

There are those that don’t like the costumes, and then those who don’t like the accessories. Some costumes are too big and some are too small. Come to rescue “the aunties”, their sewing machines, their scissors, and their dexterity.

In the midst of it all, the costume vendor suffers a stroke whilst catering to Virar and Thane shows in December 2019, and is unable to service 9 shows in Dahisar in January 2020. So, Christmas break is spent cajoling and pleading with new vendors, and some old friends and family members come to the rescue.

From building our own stage in Virar for 4 shows, to putting together an emergency response team for 14 shows, and then translating the emergency evacuation procedure in English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati, and enlisting the support of PTEC members and Home mothers at the last minute to spread the awareness- the drama never stops.

Then there are football matches, basketball games, and MSSA events – some clashes between the sports teachers and the dance teachers. One sports teacher figures an alternative pathway, sits with the MSSA officials to negotiate an alternative date and time-slot. The MSSA official agrees subject to the opposing team being amenable to the date change. So, our teacher calls the opposing team school, and convinces them. Thanks to the opposing team the date is changed. Oh, by the way, we did win the Basketball game defeating Don Bosco by more than 12 baskets and the Football match defeating Dhirubhai Ambani International School 4-1.

3. The Strife

Murphy’s Law “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

Multiple trips to markets in south-Mumbai to match the accessories to the costumes, only to have some older kids refuse to wear an accessory on the day of the show, and convince the teacher in-charge to leave the accessory behind in school. The Principal gets the teacher to go back to the school to fetch the accessory and the students have no choice but to now wear the accessory and SMILE!

One student after her dance performance insists on changing her costume, instead of immediately making her entry on stage to say her dialogue, because her mother has got her a new shirt to wear on stage when she says her dialogue. This leads to an awkward silence on stage as the other students have finished their dialogue and are awaiting this young girl to make an entry and say her dialogue. This 5-minute delay leads to a ripple-effect of delaying the 2nd show. So, a last minute decision to cancel the mid-show break and bearing a penalty of Rs 15,000/- levied by the auditorium for not scheduling a break. All for one new shirt!

Another student falls ill on the day of the show, and can’t make it. Fortunately, all the kids know each other’s dialogues, and dance steps. So, substituting is not a challenge.

One show the music software stalls right in the middle of the welcome dance leading to a last-minute decision to replay the song so that the students are not demotivated.

Another show the LED screen power supply trips causing a delay of 15 minutes, with parents patiently waiting without making a fuss. Fortunately there was no follow-on show and no fear of any ripple effect.

4. The Glory

The sweat, the tears, the toil are all forgotten in the deluge of accolades that come after the show. The parents are proud of the performances, the students thrilled, the teachers relieved, the Principals relaxed, and the Director’s hands are hurting from clapping at 12 shows.

It’s going to be another year before the drama unfolds again for the next show. The benchmark is set higher.

Until then, keep smiling, and keep supporting the school in all its initiatives.

Words of encouragement from parents motivate everyone at school.

Take a bow: students, teachers, and Heads; Tanya Valecha, Chhaya Rangnekar, Latika Parikh, Vinaya Shetty, Chhaya Mistry

Dr Hanif Kanjer (PhD., MBA-London Business School, BE)

Founding Dean, Rustomjee Business School

Founding Director, Rustomjee Cambridge International School & Junior College

Director, Rustomjee International School

Dr Hanif Kanjer

Founder Director, Rustomjee Cambridge International School and Junior College

Founder Dean, Rustomjee Business School

Professor Strategy & Finance, Management Consultant, Advisor and amateur Farmer.


Corporate experience:

Strategy consulting, operations improvement, business process re-engineering, feasibility studies, financial modelling, and valuation studies - worked on assignments in USA, UK, France, Germany, Poland, Scotland, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, UAE, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore; with leading organizations including Unilever Gulf, 3M UK, Ernst & Young, Infosys, Giordano Fashions, Hertz Rent-a-car, Al Haseena Jewellers, Business Consulting Group, Gulf Marketing Research, and Amer World Research.


Education Management:

Founder Director- Rustomjee Cambridge group of schools & Director Rustomjee International School; leading and managing the group with more than 10,000 students, 450 teachers, 240 administrative and support staff.

Established S P Jain School of Global Management’s first international campus in Dubai as a consulting director in 2004.


Professor & Corporate Trainer:

Visiting Professor at leading business schools in India, Dubai & Singapore since 2004.

Teach Business Strategy, Strategic Innovation, Managerial Economics, Financial Ratios analysis, International Finance, Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Equity Investment & Valuation, Equity Research, and Ethics.

Conducted corporate training programs in Project Management, Financial Analysis, and Strategy.


Author

Research papers and business articles published in leading publications.

Best-selling author, ‘All the Right Answers’ published by McMillan in 2005.


Education

PhD - Finance (University of Mumbai)

MBA - Strategy (London Business School)

B.E - Production (University of Mumbai)