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Praveen Kumar: To Teach, With Love

by Aiden

Teachers have the power to change the future with the knowledge they impart. 

Praveen Kumar D is an Economics teacher at Bangkok Prep and believes it is essential to combine the science of learning with the art of teaching to inspire and empower students.

I have never been more passionate about my role as a teacher than now. I had always wanted to be a teacher and trained for it, but nothing prepared me for that adrenaline rush you get when faced with a classroom full of enquiring minds that challenge you, minds that learn with you. Teaching to the backdrop of demands that the 21st-century world presents, journeying at breakneck speed down the information highway is stimulating. You understand that your primary job is not just to impart knowledge but also to prepare the learners to forge their futures and be leaders. 

A teacher’s job is a complex and challenging one to begin with, but the past two years of the pandemic have brought their curveballs. Teachers had to learn and adapt with the students as we negotiated the online/hybrid/in-class learning environment. It hasn’t been easy, but the support of the school leadership team and state-of-the-art facilities on hand, helped immensely. What also helped was the school’s carefully nurtured community environment which ensured that the teaching faculty, parents and the student body were constantly communicating with and listening to each other. They say it takes a village to raise a child; I’d add, it also takes a community to nurture a mind.

For any teacher to be successful, it is crucial that they have a deep understanding and awareness that one size does not fit all in the classroom. Every school must also remember that both teaching and learning are adaptive, evolving processes. It is just as important to be surrounded by talented educators who can bounce ideas off each other. An absolute requirement, though, is a student body that is happy and eager to learn. That’s the bottom line: a happy student is an engaged learner. Our results show that what we do at Bangkok Prep inspires our students to dig deep.

My students have consistently performed well, with significant improvements each year. This year they achieved a rare feat in external examinations: there were 10 A*, and A’s in a class of 15 students. An impressive 93.3% of students achieved A*-C grades in A Level Economics. In AS level, 15 out of a cohort of 25 secured A grades (96% of students achieved A-C grades). At the same time, IGCSE students performed exceptionally well, with seven out of 11 students in a class securing A* and A grades; 91% of students gaining A*-C grades. 

In my second year of teaching Economics here, I am both a teacher and an active learner. I draw on my 12 years of teaching experience in International Schools, and the skills I gained have helped me be an effective and result-oriented teacher. I have also learnt to balance the results with empathy. These are skills that I am inspired to bring to the classroom every day.

If asked to underline what I value most about teaching, it would be the ability to cultivate an interest in the subject that I love in my students. The results are just a tangible manifestation of this. The school’s vision has been empowering, and the life values it instils in its students have helped create an environment where students thrive and want to learn.

Students, though, are the real gifts. Whatever their background, they quickly adapt to the culture when joining our learning community. They are given clear goals and develop excellent work ethics. In addition, the international-mindedness fostered inspires respect for others, making them truly global citizens. 

It is honestly a privilege to be part of a community of reflective learners who respect the plurality of perspectives – integral to our community. A community nurtured by extraordinarily supportive parents. Students and parents have a central place in our decision-making processes: their voices and opinions form the foundations of our approach to teaching and learning. Students are rewarded for their excellent academic performance and positive attitude each month – their hard work shared with the entire community via the school website, social media accounts and our weekly community updates.

Beyond the classroom, our students are encouraged to participate in competitions including essay writing, Wharton Global High School Investment Competition, community projects like the Equity partnership and virtual stock market games. They also take the initiative to run the Bangkok Prep Economics Society, Development Bank, Dragon’s Den, run debates on current affairs, participate in academic discussions and participate in financial literacy games, amongst many other additional activities. 

Thanks to these strong foundationsour students are accepted at top colleges worldwide that offer prestigious Economics programmes, a popular choice for our graduates is London School of Economics. As our students take their next steps in to higher education, they leave us with a sense of empowerment and values that set them on the path to success as professional and committed global citizens. 

Praveen Kumar D, originally from India, has a Master’s Degree in Economics from Mangalore University and a second Master’s Degree in Education (International Teaching) from Framingham University, Massachusetts. He is passionate about teaching and learning and considers himself the eternal student. He is keen to introduce innovative teaching pedagogies based on new learning and his own experiences. His work on pedagogical content knowledge, especially in Business and Economics, fuels his approach in the classroom. A resident of Thailand for 13 years, Praveen loves reading, intellectual discussions, sports and travel. 

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