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Learning the Ropes

by Webmaster Masala

Why is teaching still a desirable career option for young Indian women?

By Christy Lau

It’s 2018 and we’ve come a long way from the days where women weren’t encouraged to work and there were limited jobs available. These days, career opportunities for women are endless, and while the modern feminist movement has taught an entire generation of girls that they can be whoever they want, some women are still choosing to pursue more traditional roles that include the care of children, be it at a private educational institution or at a state school.

But exactly why is that? Is it an ideal career, or simply one that is convenient and traditionally accepted? Being a teacher isn’t the easiest job in the world, but for many, the rewards far outweigh the struggles. 

Three young ladies tell Masala what got them into world of teaching and explain why they chose to make guiding the young their livelihood.

Nivan Narula

Nursery Teacher at Kids Kingdom

Why did you decide to pursue this career path? 

I always dreamed of being a teacher. As a teenager, I would go with my mom to work and help her teach. She was my inspiration. However, what influenced my decision the most was my love for children. There is just something alluring about working with young kids; to see learning take place before your eyes, and to watch them grow and progress throughout the year.

Can you give me a brief overview of how a typical workday goes for you?

We start each day with ‘Circle Time,’ where we sing a good morning song and greet each other. At this time of the day, I find myself really enjoying being at school. Then we move on to our Theme Related Activities where we have story time, arts and crafts, role play and drama. The children then go for their snack and play time, while teachers prep for the upcoming lesson. Afterwards, the children take part in basic language-building and number-related activities. Then comes my favourite part of the day where we have play experiences where I prepare either a science activity, sensory and messy play, or a hands-on activity. During these sessions, it is amazing to see each of their thought processes.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?                                                         

Watching my students learn new things. When they come in every morning smiling and are happy to see me, it makes my day. It’s a job where you feel like you’ve made a difference in a child’s life every single day. I hope to make an impact on as many students as possible.

What have you learned from your profession?                                                           

The one thing I have definitely learnt is PATIENCE.  Apart from that, I have also learnt classroom management and organisational skills. Being a teacher has brought out the creative side in me. 

Why do you think most Thai Indians pursue this career path? 

I believe that pursuing a teaching career has become an ideal job because of the working hours and the holidays. However, to succeed you also have to be passionate about working with children and love what you do, because this profession can be exhausting.

Why do you think this career field has gained so much popularity among your group of friends?

I think most of my friends have chosen this career path because they have grown up with educators in the house.

What do you love most about your work? And what is the biggest challenge?

Children have a thought process that is very different from adults, and their emotional responses to situations can sometimes appear extreme and illogical. I believe that the biggest challenge is to be able to relate to these children on their level and understand why they are acting a certain way. That’s also what I love most about my work; when I am able to understand what is causing a certain change in their behaviour and finding ways to tackle it. 

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you have been?  

I have always dreamed of being a teacher so I really can’t see myself doing another job. 

Sonam Dinani

Special Art Teacher at OISCA International Kindergarten

What influenced your decision to go into teaching?

My love for children! They see the world a little differently to adults and they show it through their art. I get inspired by it. They are the future thinkers.

What is a typical workday like? 

I teach all age groups from Pre-K to K3 (ages two to six years old). Sometimes, I even substitute as a homeroom teacher in the event a teacher calls in sick. If the day requires, I even meet prospective parents and take them on tours around the school, answering their inquiries. Every day is different, which is the best part!

As an art teacher, what do you find most worthwhile?  

Seeing a student smile because you made them feel special and comfortable. I also find it rewarding when I see my students progress and mature. The best example of this is when they want to help their friends. And of course, receiving touching anonymous messages that say things like ‘I love you’ or ‘can you come to my house for coffee?’ I also love it when they approach you privately and give you hugs for no reason. There’s no better feeling.

What are the future goals you hope to achieve?

To be able to not only teach the basic requirements from the curriculum, but also to teach them how to be a good person and how to survive in this world.

What have you learned from being a teacher?

The number one thing is patience! Art is such a fun and messy subject where sometimes children don’t even wait for your instructions before they start fiddling with the materials in front of them. This happens most of the time! Being in this kind of environment has taught me how to be calm, yet still be able to take full control as a leader to make sure they stay focused.

Why do you think most Thai Indians pursue this career path?

Most of us have grown up very family-orientated and so working with children comes so naturally to us.

What do you enjoy most about what you do and what are the biggest day-to-day challenges? 

Everything! Being in a class with so many children from different backgrounds and having the opportunity to interact with such cute and funny personalities. Also, collaborating with other talented, dedicated and caring teachers makes for a great work environment. 

As for challenges, managing a room full of young children can be enjoyable, but it can also be hard and can drain a lot of your energy. The day-to-day challenges I face are usually from dealing with difficult behaviours from moody children. It is so important to keep your class functioning smoothly throughout the day even when you have to give extra attention to some children in need.

Do you see yourself as a career-orientated person? 

Yes, always. I love my work. I love having a stable routine and the feeling of coming home satisfied and happy. Sometimes during long summer holidays I actually miss school and my students. I just miss being in a fun and energetic environment. The early childhood mind is so fascinating and I’m truly glad I have been given this teaching opportunity. 

Prerna Kaur

Part time teacher at Helen Doron Learning Centre 

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I didn’t actually decide to go into teaching. Teaching happened to me by chance. I initially wanted to become a jewellery designer, which is what I studied in Australia. To further broaden my knowledge, I had taken up gemology and jewellery design at GIA, Thailand. While doing the design course, my instructor mentioned a job opening at GIA, which piqued by interest, as I had just gotten married and wasn’t ready to start my own business. All worked out well and I got the job. That was when I realised how much I enjoyed teaching and decided to do my Master’s in education at SUNY (State University of New York) a couple of years later.

What is a typical week like for you? 

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I work a full-day with a two-hour lunch break in between, where I usually eat, nap, run errands or be with my children during their school break. The other two week days, I only work from 3 to 4pm teaching English after school. On Saturday mornings, I teach at Helen Doron. Basically, I have a lot of time on my hands as a part-time teacher and I love it.

What future goals do you hope to achieve?

I would someday like to have my own school with a training centre for all teachers, regardless of race and colour.

Why do you think most Thai Indians pursue this career path?

The money? Haha, just kidding! On a serious note, I think it is because they are capable of doing it well and also because of the benefits of the working hours. 

Why do you think this career field has gained so much popularity among your group of friends?

I think it’s the word of mouth and demand for the position that has made this job such a popular one amongst us.

What do you love most about your work?

I love the fact that when I’m teaching I feel like I’m in a different place away from the stresses of the real world. My job is my therapy, as my students are wonderful and they just always make me feel so happy and valued.

Do you see yourself as a career-orientated person?

Yes, I do see myself as a career-oriented person. Having a career is something I am doing for myself and I take pride in it.

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