"I am a psychology and economics teacher by profession, a wife, a mother of three kids - two girls and one boy. After completing my master's in economics, I joined a multinational corporation as it had always been a dream, being a teacher was never a part of my plan. I worked in MNCs for 10-12 years and left my job at Tata when I got pregnant with my son. I had always been a working woman, so I knew had to do something and I did my B. Ed just because I was bored. During the campus placements, Delhi Public School offered me a job, never did I knew it was going to change my life. Even though being a teacher in DPS is quite challenging, DPS was a great place for learning and I ended up learning more there than I did in any MNC. Being a teacher, you have so many responsibilities, you can’t just give a lecture and walk out of there. You have to develop a connection with the students and love them like your own children and that’s why teaching isn’t a 9-3 job, it’s a full-time profession.

This one time, I got trapped with my family during the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, we were on a road trip when I had a strong intuition that something wasn’t right. We were on our way to Gangotri and somehow reached near Gangotri’s parking and there was a long queue ahead of us. I told my husband to turn around and three more cars followed us. After half an hour, we took a small break and the T.V. was on, we just couldn’t believe what we saw. The parking where we were half an hour ago had gotten washed away because of floodwater. I could just imagine the faces of people standing in front of us, people in cars ahead of us and it was quite disturbing to think about what may have happened to them. I still thank god for saving me and my family that day. We ended up fine but what was supposed to be a 7-day trip turned into 27 days filled with fear, uncertainty, scarce resources, and no access to the outside world. We learned to make the most of it, we played old-school games, learned how valuable food and water are and in the process of barely surviving, it bought my family closer. 

I opened Gyansthan, as I realized I wanted to connect to more students from different schools and create a bigger impact. I went from teaching just 40 students to more than 200 students. My husband has always been my biggest supporter, he’s the one who encouraged me to open my own institution, to complete my M.Ed and I even plan on doing a Ph.D. in near future now. My father bought me up to be a smart, independent woman and that’s how it should be in every household.

I even provide free counseling to anyone who needs it. I feel like I have a gift and I should share it with the world. Also, there’s a lack of mental health awareness around here and I wanted to change that. I believe that my teaching methods are modern and effective. I’ve never screamed at any student, I believe in giving positive affirmations, and instead of humiliating them in front of the class, I talk to them privately. I pity those teachers who physically abuse their students. If you have to use violence to get a child to listen, you’ve failed as a teacher. I feel accomplished when the student who was scoring 40/100, rises and scores 80/100. My work as a teacher is to be their friend, talk to them, clear their doubts and engage them in such a way that my lectures feel like sitting in a movie theatre.

When Narendra Modi introduced a lockdown last year, we knew we’d have to switch to the online mode of teaching. We even have an app now and for taking tests, I make a plea to every parent to sit beside their child and make sure they aren’t just copying. During the lockdown, I had so much free time and started gardening. We used to have around 40 plants in my house before but now I can proudly say that we have more than 500 plants. Gardening is such a therapeutic activity for me, it’s also when I bond with my children the most. Also, I started focusing on yoga as I needed to do something for myself, so, I added yoga to my daily life. From having migraines, facial sinus, thyroid, stomach issues, shoulder pains, knee problems, ingesting so many pills daily to having no medicines (even my thyroid is cured), losing over 18 kgs, making youtube videos, and starting Humyog, yoga has changed my life. I even joined a professional online course from Paris and the USA. Yoga healed me mentally and physically and I even plan on starting my classes very soon!

To all the students struggling with online classes, I think they have to form a mindset and accept the reality that things are how they are. People don’t accept things very easily but change is the only constant in life. If things don’t keep on changing, it’ll get so monotonous. I’ve had students who woke up at 5 in the morning, came to me to learn, went to school, and then went to other tuitions afterward. Students even came when it used to rain so much, no weather conditions could be used as an excuse but now, when everyone is at their homes, they should be thankful for being safe and sound and learn as much as they can from the comfort of their homes. In fact, teachers have more responsibility to make their lectures fun and interactive now!"

Author: Vanshika Jain