HYDERABAD: When was the last time we heard a kid mention becoming teacher as his/her hobby? Like they show in the movie 3 Idiots, as soon as the kid is born, they are brainstormed to become engineers or doctors. Little do they realise that it is the teachers who help them shape their future. Great teachers inspire, nurture and instill hope in the students.
Here are four teachers and moms who ditched their fancy jobs with lucrative salaries in a glossy building and partnered with a startup Cuemath to take up home-based teaching. Their core motto is to follow their passion for imparting their knowledge and shape a concrete future. Their stories inspire us, while their teachings stimulate the minds of the students. Cuemath is a home-based after-school, multiformat math learning program that brings together the technology and personal teaching.
Jayati Saha’s journey to reinvent conceptual learning
I hail from a middle-class family from a small place called Agartala. Born and brought up by open-minded parents in a picturesque city I was a girl with dreams in my eyes to explore the world. I finished my BSc ( Physics Hons) with a gold medal and with the record of the highest score in Math from Tripura University. I did my Masters in Physics from Hyderabad University with specialisation in Particle Physics. After that, I worked as a lecturer in a Junior College for a year. I then joined ICICI bank as an assistant manager before moving to the USA for six years.
After I came back from the USA, I decided to join as a Math teacher in a prestigious school at Hyderabad since I was always passionate about teaching and share my knowledge with kids. During this period, I realised that the students and parents are oriented towards marks instead of the importance of conceptual understanding. This flaw in conceptual learning widens as the child moves to higher grades as the subject becomes more specialised and creates an aversion towards a beautiful subject like Math. Soon I had to leave this job due to certain health issues. However, I was feeling restless and was desperate to do something to bring change in people’s mindset regarding the math learning trend in the society.
Teaching was not a completely new experience for me when I joined Cuemath but my experience after my first few Cuemath class was entirely different. The sight of the children learning in a stress-free environment and pushing themselves to the best of their potential is beauty in itself and motivates me to open all doors of learning for them. These days, the education system has a dearth of true teachers. We need teachers who teach with passion and don’t hesitate to take the extra effort to find out the true potential of a child and guide him or her in the right direction.
Divya Pavoor’s road from Infosys to teaching
I am a BE from RV College of Engineering and was employed with Infosys for five years. I am a certified web designer. I resigned as a programmer analyst post which I took a break of three years to stay at home with my child. But later once I wanted to get back to work, I decided not to get a full-time job rather chose to do software freelancing.
I have helped with the e-commerce websites, software products from home for four to five hours every day which was quite satisfying from the full-time job I previously had. I was initially looking for programmes that would enhance my child’s cognitive skills and that’s when I heard and found about Cuemath to be the right choice. I had always enjoyed teaching and communicating, therefore I took this as an opportunity to sign up and become a Cuemath teacher. Infrastructure wise minimum effort is required to set up these centers. all we need is a seating area for about six kids and a tablet with internet connection. the program’s structure, content, logistics everything is handled and managed by the startup itself.
All I needed to do was get in touch with the people of my community and explain the functions of this program to them and get the center running. It wasn’t difficult to leave, rather discontinue my freelancing job and focus on teaching. because positively influencing kids in their formative years was a long-term dream and I could see myself moving in that direction and it was financially rewarding too. Teaching is normally not considered a career choice by most students.
That’s pretty much the sad state of affairs. We need teachers who come into this profession by choice and passion rather than as a desperate option. I think we need to bring a change from within the society where accomplished people take up the profession and society gives them the respect they deserve. It gives me a sense of fulfillment when I can improve a child’s understanding of a concept. I love to enjoy their ‘Aha’ moment when they realise that there are many different interpretations of a concept. It was however difficult initially to handle a group of six kids at one go, but over time I have developed the required skills.
Avanti Tiwari’s love for stimulation
I was a software engineer, worked with Infosys and Reliance before I became a Cuemath teacher. At this time, I came across the startup, I just fell in love with its concept. After my profile got short-listed, I had to go through an extensive training conducted by them. On successful completion of training, I was certified as a Cuemath teacher.
I love learning myself – love imparting this knowledge to others. After I had my kids I felt the need to keep myself occupied and mentally stimulated. More on the emotional side – not knowing what to do after I had my children, I needed something rewarding and more importantly the financial independence. Every day it was a challenge; handling kids was a new struggle; keeping them focused was a task. But I learned on the job I feel that teachers should be better compensated so that there are better people in the teaching field.
SN Lakshmi’s quest to teach
I hail from a Telugu family and did my Masters in Computer Applications (MCA). I got married right after I finished my degree, had my kids, with a lot of responsibilities at home. The only option feasible in front of me because of my children was teaching as it was inevitable. I didn’t want to be an educated woman not utilising her skills. First, I taught as a computer sciences teacher and then as an admin manager at my second job but also taught children during my free time.
As and when my kids grew up and I started teaching them. Teaching as a profession became the next most obvious thing to do. I came across Cuemath. I learnt that it is an afterschool math learning program. I took it up. They provide us with online training and materials and tools to teach. Marketing myself as a teacher for was a struggle – took a little time and understanding with parents and getting my student base in place.
— Purnima Sriram