The biggest reformations begin with the smallest steps. Mr. Amarnath Vasireddy’s journey from a railway employee to the Director of one of the most reputable schools in the Telugu states, truly iterates this ideology. Hailing from a village near Tirpathi, Mr. Vasireddy has come a long way, and is currently in the pursuit of providing holistic education to students through Slate – The School, that doesn’t just focus on mark sheets, but their life skills too.
Mr. Vasireddy’s journey and ideology has lessons to offer for educators, entreprenuers, teachers, students, and parents. Here are eight lessons to drive home, from our interaction with this educator par excellence.
1. Change And Adapt
Mr. Vasireddy’s journey as a teacher, began much before he set up his schools. Soon after graduation, he inspired to be employed with civil services. While in his pursuit through three attempts, he found himself training friends and acquaintances to prepare for competitive examinations. This passion soon turned into a profession, all while being employed with the Indian Railways, and freelancing as a journalist. Eventually, he set up his own center to coach aspirants. When the then Chief Minister declared that the demand for government jobs may soon plummet, he decided to make a shift towards establishing a school, which ten expanded to several branches.
“To change and adapt is important” says Mr. Vasireddy highlighting the varied fields he worked in. “No matter where you are, it’s important to upgrade, and adapt to change. Society will never be the same” he says, emphasising the need to avoid being stagnant.
2. Let Your Failures Drive You To Success
“I call my story a Failure Story, not success story” says Mr. Vasireddy, for he believes, each failure of his, drove him to chase new success. When he couldn’t realise his dream of becoming a doctor, barred from attempting EAMCET at the age of 12 when he passed his tenth standard, he shifted his focus to civil services. When he couldn’t make it through IAS/IPS, he used the opportunity and experience to train others who would, eventually establishing an institution that churned state toppers for ten consecutive years. When the future of the field seemed bleak, he decided to establish a school instead. Instead of brooding over failures, he decided to build stepping stones out of them that drove him to the most successful milestone in his journey. “Every crisis led me to success” he says.
3. Every Day Is A Challenge, Every Challenge Is An Opportunity
Mr. Vasireddy urges not to let challenges despair you. While establishing his school, he faced several challenges with regards to finances, formalities, and social roadblocks. However, each challenge was viewed as an opportunity to push the bar. “I addressed issues at the ground level. I didn’t just dream, I took steps to realise the dream with my realistic approach towards it” Mr. Vasireddy adds. The path to success may not be a bed of roses, but it’s your attitude towards the obstructions, that determine how far you’ll go. Every day may seem like a challenge when you’re out to achieve something, yet every challenge when viewed as an opportunity, will make the journey less tedious. Perspective matters.
4. Never Stop Learning
A keen learner himself, Mr. Vasireddy urges people, to never stop learning. Be it updating yourself with the latest happenings, consulting people to gain more knowledge in areas that interest you, reading books to reading people, it’s important to always keep learning. Change and adaptation requires constant learning. Be open to opinions, ask for help, and always stay on par. You are never too old or never too young to learn.
5. Be Realistic
When discussing his entrepreneurial journey, Mr. Vasireddy advises start-ups and entreprenuers to be realistic. While a lack of ambition does you no good, over ambition may spell doom. It’s important to have a clear idea of your goals and capabilities. Mr. Vasireddy believes it’s easy to get carried away when establishing a business, or reaching new heights. Drawing boundaries won’t just help entreprenuers to gain a clear picture of where they’re headed, but will also help them stay focused and dedicated. To reach greater heights, take slow, calculated steps.
6. Never Compromise On Quality
The success of his schools, brought about several offers for franchises across different locations. However, concerned about the quality of service the franchise may offer, Mr. Vasireddy decided to opt for branches of his school, instead of enabling franchises. “Owing to my good work and commitment, my good will precedes my presence” he says, emphasising the importance of quality.
7. Focus On Over All Development
Mr. Vasireddy urges schools and parents, to focus on the overall development of children. “Marks are important, but marks alone cannot bring long term happiness in life” he says. His school has identified ten basic skills i.e., observation skills, listening skills, reading skills, writing skills, speaking skills, comprehension skills, analytical skills, memory skills, application skills and life skills, to ensure children don’t just pass examinations, but develop into well raised, successful, happy adults. He urges parents to let children participate in extracurricular activities and sports, that won’t just keep them away from being couch potatoes, but also inculcate sportsmanship in their everyday living. “Education should ensure happiness in life, not just employment” he adds.
8. Follow Your Heart
“I am good at what I do because I do what I like” Mr. Vasireddy says, talking of the importance of following your passion. He reinstates that children must not be forced to get into careers desired by the parents. It’s important to follow your calling to be able to give your best. “Do what makes you happy, and find happiness in what you do. Don’t compare yourself with someone else, for everyone has their own hidden struggles. Focus on your own well-being and growth, and you’re sure to find happiness” he signs off.
About the educator -
Vasireddy Amarnath - M.A., M.Phil (Sociology, Anthropology) Founder & Chairman of Slate - The School - Selected for RAW (Research Analysis Wing) in the Civil Services - Feature Writer for Eenadu and Andhra Jyothi publications- Respected Career Counselor - Founder Director of Apex (coaching center for Civil and State Services examinations)
Slate - The School was started in the year 2001, by Vasireddy Educational Society, with a vision to impart quality and value based education to children; to improve the ethical standards in the field education; to adopt a futuristic approach to promote traditional values amongst the younger generation.