Spring 2016

ATPE News is the official publication of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the largest educator association in Texas. The magazine addresses the most important issues affecting public education in the state. Learn more at

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 43 | 19 spring 2016 What brought you to the United States? I came here in 1983, after I got married. My husband was working on his PhD, so I came on a student spouse visa. I got a scholarship at Northeastern University in Boston to earn my master's degree in economics. We moved around quite a bit because of his job—from Indiana to Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, and now here to Texas. We've been in this area for 13 years, the longest we've been anywhere in the United States. Can you talk a little about your previous career? I was a systems analyst for Liberty Mutual Insurance in Boston, and after seven years of working in the office, I telecommuted for many more years. If I'd stayed in the data-mining feld, right now I'd probably be earning quite a bit. But, at some point, I would still have become a teacher. I like change. No day is the same in teaching. I like the discussions I have with my students. I like that I am making a diference. What made you decide to become a teacher? Growing up in India had a huge infuence on me. Aspects of Indian culture favor boys over girls, but I did what I could within those cultural boundaries. My father was a big advocate for girls' education, and he funded education for many girls that I know of. One in four Indian women was literate when I was a child there, and I saw a lot of physical and mental abuse of those women who did not get an education. I worried that would be my fate, but my father would always tell me, "That won't be you because you have an education that will give you gender equality." I didn't believe him then, though. Where did you get your teaching certifcation? Texas State University. They have a program called the Teacher Recruitment Program. That's what my daughter also did. It gives you practical experience in nine months, and it got me into the classroom fast. It was meant for people making a mid-career change. Did you have any teachers who infuenced you as a child? Yes, my maternal grandfather. He had polio, so he could not even walk, but he was brilliant. We would play chess or analyze math problems for hours and read Longfellow, Dickens, and the Sanskrit poet Kalidasa. Despite his disability, there was not a single day when a negative word came out of his mouth. Imagine not being able to walk, in India, where there are no handicapped accommodations. He would say, "I cannot change it, but I will do the best I can." He was incredible, and he taught me everything I know. Everything I do now is in his honor. Is that where you developed your love for Shakespeare? No, we didn't do Shakespeare in my childhood. When I started teaching Shakespeare, I knew nothing about his plays. I learned along with my students. A teacher in another school introduced me to the program. She wanted me to help, but it was my frst year teaching, and I thought, "I cannot do this." She left the district the next year, and I decided to give it a try in my school. I learned like I was a woman in a hurry. Every day I imbibed Shakespeare. When I talk to the kids, they can see my passion for it. We tell them, "Enjoy the language, let it roll over your tongue. Savor the words. That's what Shakespeare was meant for." "No day is the same in teaching. I like the discussions I have with my students. I like that I am making a diference."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of ATPE News - Spring 2016