Joy of Teaching: 1

This was 2004. My husband and I were successful Software Engineers in Bangalore. It wasn’t too long before we discovered that one common interest that we shared was a liking for a multi-dimensional life. As young people, we wanted a more fulfilling life, something that was more satisfying than programming.. a career that would impact more people. It was a cool winter afternoon and as we were sipping our tumbler of coffee, both of us were discussing the need for a better education system . As the discussion proceeded, we were discussing nuances of teaching and learning and what is needed to transform education. While we were not too critical of the then mainstream education, we observed that a lot more could be done to inspire the student community and help them act with confidence. Looking back, we were too young to come up with big ideas but our vision was definitely grand. We were also discussing how our current jobs did not provide us the scope to explore our multi-dimensional capabilities as we hardly had any time except weekends (which were mostly spent traveling to our hometowns). At the end of the discussion it was clear that we wanted to move to academics. Have you noticed the urgency to act as soon as you decide upon something? There is a sudden adrenaline rush and you are all excited about it! Yes! We too were totally excited the moment we made this discovery about what we wanted to do in future. In a few months we landed in one of India’s premier universities (if not for the interview and paperwork, we would have landed the next day).

Before moving to academics, we did talk to a few friends and family members about it. We received mixed reaction. Some common questions were “How will you manage your finances?”, “Academics is monotonous, are you sure you are making the right decision?”, “What if you weren’t made for teaching?”. Family members were definitely anxious about our future because a teacher in India, at that time, was not paid as much as a Software Engineer. One of my colleagues at work asked “So, why are you moving to teaching?”. All that I could say was “So that my husband and I could have lunch together daily”. He might have thought that this lady must be crazy. When Adi’s colleagues asked the same question, he had a crazier response “I work with the computer sixteen hours a day and the damn thing wouldn’t be inspired!”. We were just too excited to pay too much attention to what others thought of our decision. All that we could see were the wonderful opportunities unfolding before our eyes and how we would be making an impact on our future students. Little were we concerned about the challenges that were in store for us. Its been more than 10 years and we never regretted our decision. Everyday has taught us something new and every minute spent with our students has been immensely joyous. Will be sharing our experience of teaching and insights for new teachers in this space.