How to be a qualified IELTS trainer #LearnNotEducate

Why be an IELTS trainer you ask? Here are some interesting facts that will help you understand the importance of this field and the reason why it can be a lucrative career option.

  • We are a land of diverse languages and yet we are second largest English speaking country in the world! Second only to USA!
  • Another interesting fact is that nearly 3 lakh students go abroad every year for higher education.

During the #BlogchatterProjects I met Piyusha Vir who is a CELTA certified English trainer. She explained that CLETA was the certification required for teaching English as a second language.

Celta certification is required to teach English as a second language

I caught up with her for more details about the course and here is what she had to say –

Tell me a bit about yourself?

After a long stint in the hotel industry, I quit my job and turned a full-time writer in 2015.

Since then I have written and published various articles and short stories on many websites and magazines including Readomania.com, Sheroes.com, MyCity4Kids, WomensWeb, and LBB Delhi.

I recently completed my CELTA certification for teaching English as a Second Language from University of Cambridge.

How and why did you decide to get a CELTA certification ?

I saw the need for writers and even, non-writers to improve their English language skills. Communicating in the English language isn’t one of the strengths for most Indians. During my interactions with other writers, I realized they may have brilliant ideas for their stories but their expression lacks finesse. This is why I decided to teach English to writers, but I needed a formal certification to make sure I was using the right techniques and methodologies. That’s when I did some research and found out that the CELTA qualification was the best and the most respected one. With this qualification, I can choose to be an IELTS trainer too.

What are the requirements for this field?

One needs to be a graduate in any field. Applicants wishing to apply for the CELTA course need not have studied English language at college or university level. Of course, they need to have exceptional English language skills.

How can one go about it?

One can take the CELTA as a full time, part time or online. In India, at present, only the full-time option is available. To apply, one needs to register and send a request directly to the authorized centre. 

Are there any institutes or universities giving structured courses in it?

In India, British Council is the only approved centre offering this course. It is as per the standards and course guidelines set by Cambridge English Language Assesment, a part of  University of Cambridge.

Any tips for those looking to pursue this course?

Anyone looking to take the CELTA should be well aware what they are getting into. It isn’t an easy course. Even the application process has three stages. The course is really intensive and draining. You won’t be able to pursue it along with any project/job/course.

What are the career options after finishing this course?

There are many career options post CELTA. One can choose to teach at schools, colleges, set up their own coaching/tuition centre, or even coach IELTS and TOEFL candidates. CELTA is just like any other professional course. They do not offer any placement service/assistance and one is expected to look for jobs independently. 

You can connect with Piyusha for more information on her blog, Twitter or Facebook page. She even has a free course for those who wish to learn English on Skillshare.

Blog – https://wanderingsoulwriter.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/PiyushaVir

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/wanderingsoulwriter/

 

Life comes a full circle for Rohit as he helps his village

When Life comes a Full Circle

Rohit was a first generation expat from his family. He went to USA for pursuing his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and then settled there. Rohit had everything that a typical well-settled expat Indian is expected to have – a green card, a home, a family and a job profile that anybody would be envious about – he was the VP of the New Product division.

Rohit was also the only child of his parents, who now lived in Pune. He religiously had his family vacations, so that his children could form a bond with their grandparents from both the sides. But such visits however well-planned only meant visits to his parents and his wife’s parents and that was the ‘family in India’ that their children knew about.

During one such India visit, Rohit’s father asked him “Do you remember our village home in Ratnagiri?” Rohit was a bit lost at the question initially, but then he recollected a few faint memories of an imposing wada with a huge orchard at the back. His far-away look was noted by his mother and she simply said, “You might not remember much as after your high school you were usually busy with studies and later you went to USA”. Rohit’s son Anish was listening to the conversation. He quickly checked up Ratnagiri on Google and announced “Dad this looks like a cool place, let’s go there while we are in India!”

And just like that in a discussion over dinner, the Dongre family planned their Ratnagiri visit.

“Okay let’s look up some hotels” said, Rohit. His father simply said, “I will be staying at the Wada, you guys can book yourself a hotel close by”. “Does someone even live there dad?” now Rohit was genuinely surprised!

Yup! My brothers and a few of your cousins do live there. We go there every year!

This got Rohit and his family, even more excited. There were apprehensions about meeting someone for the first time, there was also the fear of how Rohit’s children will take in the rural life! As far as Rohit remembered the wada was a pretty old place.

But there was hardly any time to think! Things moved so quickly that they were to leave in the next two days!

The first thing that hit Rohit when he visited his native place was the lush greenery, smiling faces and the quiet recognition that everyone showed. Rohit and his family were greeted with a lot of warmth and Rohit reconnected with a lot of his cousins, that he remembered playing with as a kid! In the next half an hour, all his new found cousins and their children were connected online, thanks to Facebook! Anish exclaimed “Let’s do an FB live! I want my US friends to know, I have so many cousins that we could make a baseball team!”

Knowing your roots and meeting so many who can be called family was an uplifting feeling. The fear about how his family would take in a village life, melted away!

After they freshened up, Rohit along with a cousin Raghav, decided to go around the village. It was surprising that the people seemed to recognize him; there was respect in their eyes, which didn’t seem to make sense. “I never came to the village, after middle school, yet why is there this warmth?” questioned Rohit to Raghav.

Raghav smiled and steered him towards a tall building in the square “This is the government school of our village, it was started after the efforts of our grandfather! Our grandfather was a qualified doctor, educated in Pune, yet he came back and worked all his life for the upliftment of our village! He was the first doctor in this whole region and was instrumental in starting many initiatives for the betterment of health, sanitation and education in our village and neighboring areas.”

The words got etched somewhere deep in Rohit. He didn’t know much about his grandfather’s work. They came once a year for around 10 days to the village. By then, grandfather had retired and Rohit was too small to understand what his social service or ‘work’ mean! He became curious to know more about the great man!

Over the next two days, Rohit and Anish got to know a lot about the great figure. They were amazed and humbled with the dedication and efforts put in! “Apart from sharing a surname, I wonder what else do I have common with this great man,” wondered Anish and Rohit just replied “Exactly my thoughts son!”

Next day, they were going to their village deity and watching at the lush paddy fields and huge mango orchards that lined both sides of the road. “I want to be a farmer! This is so beautiful” quipped Anish. “With most youngsters not wanting to be farmers or going to cities, I don’t know how long these green surroundings would survive” said a worried Raghav. This caught Rohit by surprise!

“Why was nobody interested in farming?”

“Everyone thinks there isn’t much dignity in being a farmer, plus with so many climatic changes, farming just doesn’t seem feasible, they don’t get labor to work and you never know if there will be any returns on investment! It is a tough life.”

The answer put Rohit in deep thought! We were losing the primary life sustaining business known to man! There was something wrong here! By the time they were returning back from the temple, Rohit had his light-bulb moment! He quickly made a few phone calls and started typing away feverishly on the laptop.

For the next two days, Rohit looked like a man possessed! He was making presentations, watching videos, creating models.

“Would you be able to introduce me to the govt. school management by any chance?” asked Rohit to Raghav, just as he was sitting down for dinner. “Yes sure! I am an honorary member there, will talk and set something up by tomorrow.” But what is this about, asked a curious Raghav?

Well, I am a mechanical engineer and my company is into making machines for farming. I connected with them about the problems here and they are interested in sharing knowledge with the school students as part of their social responsibility activity. We have a branch in Mumbai and we are thinking of having yearly projects in schools that will ignite their interest in science. This will have good cash prizes that students can use for higher education.

The conversation lit up Raghav’s and Anish’s eyes! After dinner, the three of them huddled together over the presentations and there were excited exchange of ideas late into the light.

A short story about life coming a full circle and finding purpose

In the next two days, some more phone calls later, the presentation was arranged. Rohit showcased how his team would be interested in introducing basics of mechanical learning and creating farming related tools as a vocational subject in the school. This would prepare the students for the year end competition. The competition would revolve around creating simple and cost-effective machines that would help farmers.

The vocational classes would happen via video calls and once a month, one of his team members from Mumbai, would come to access the situation and understand the on ground realities.

By the end of the presentations, Rohit could sense that the teachers and the management alike were interested in trying this new way of learning. Rohit did a small introduction with students, to understand their perspective and the result was amazing! As he showed them how a cost effective rice-cutting instrument could be made by the students, he saw the excitement in their curious eyes.

“This is just the beginning”, Rohit mused to himself. He had just ignited a hundred little flames!

An innovative way to make Maths lovable – Smartick Method

Smartick helps the child to understand concepts, improve calculation skills, concentration and mental agility.

How many of you dreaded Maths in school? I know I did! I found it extremely boring and unimaginative. The whole tables, and equations and BODMAS etc. etc. made my head hurt and I always looked at ways to not do Mathematics.

I don’t think it was to do with the understanding level of the subject, but the whole boring and insipid approach made all the difference in my outlook towards the subject. I can say this confidently today, because I have experienced the transformation.

Today, I am going to talk about a new concept that is revolutionizing the way Mathematics is learned! I came across Smartick Method, when I got a mail from them to try and review it. The moment I went to their website, I knew this was going to be different and I instantly agreed.

What is Smartick Method?

Smartick is a unique online learning platform that lets a child learn at his own pace. It focuses on self-learning; thereby helping the child to understand concepts, improve calculation skills, concentration and mental agility.

What methodology do they follow?

Smartick goal is to make maths fun. They have created a healthy mix of traditional and new approaches towards learning maths. They use best traditional learning methods inspired from Japan and Singapore combined with studies from top research centers and universities like Harvard and the University of Chicago.

How does it work?

Smartick Method is designed in such a way that the child needs to spare only 15min a day! Isn’t that cool? Before smartick, making my daughter to sit for studies was a task, but now she is the one who reminds me about her daily smartick session!

Once the login is created, the child can start accessing the modules. Initially smartick offers random questions to understand your child’s level. Based on the results of the first 3-4 days, smartick daily sessions are updated. So you don’t have to worry, if x,y,z has been taught to your child or not.

My Review

My daughter is in love with Smartick! She is eager to do her daily sessions and understand her mistakes and improve. I have seen an increase in her concentration levels. As I get daily updates about her performance, I am attuned to her progress.

There is something called as smartick Brain games which is motivating and interesting. My daughter not just finishes her 15 min session, but also enjoys doing the Brain Games and virtual world access after the session.

As all the details are captured in a separate parent login, I can access it and view it anytime I want and help my child understand where she needs to improve.

This is completely self-learning based and hence I never have to sit and explain her questions or concepts. She watches the tutorials and works on her pace.

The report not just focuses on the number of correct answers but also takes into consideration her speed at solving them and her logic and reasoning.

Best Things that I liked

  • It’s just 15 min in a day, something that a child can easily do
  • It is designed for children from 4-14 year old.
  • This is an online platform, and they do not follow a school or state syllabus. The focus is on improving the child’s concepts, speed and accuracy.
  • It is accessible only on screens bigger than 7 inches.
  • Smartick complements the school curriculum and is aligned with the Common Core Standards and NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards.
  • Smartick is powered by the latest Artificial Intelligence technology: ability based, your child progresses at his or her own pace, building self-confidence, avoiding frustration, and developing a positive attitude to math.
  • The child works on mental calculationand algebra while also developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Smartick includes logic exercises that help children improve both in logical reasoning and reading comprehension.
  • Gamification elements help children be engaged and improve their concentration levels. All games in Smartick are scientifically designed to reinforce cognitive skills: perception, attention, memory and logical reasoning.
  • Referral program: Tutors/parents can benefit from a 27 dollars discount if they recommend a friend. And the new friend that subscribes will receive a 25% off the first subscription they buy.

Smartick is powered by the latest Artificial Intelligence technology: ability based, your child progresses at his or her own pace,

My suggestion

This is a paid subscription, however if I go on a vacation or do not have access to a computer for some time, there is no way I can pause the subscription. They should introduce that feature. Apart from this I can’t think of anything!

Verdict

If you are thinking about giving a gift to your child this Christmas or New Year, gift them knowledge and world-class education with Smartick Method. As a mom who has seen her child enjoy Smartick Method, I would highly recommend it. Right now, Smartick has a gift for children registering in New Year week, do check it out!

Dance as a career and how to go about it? Interview with Leena Ketkar

Tell us a bit about yourself 

  • I am a trained Kathak Dancer and running my own institute for the past 15 years.
  • An examiner at Gandharva Mahavidyalay for Kathak Dance Exams.
  • I have judged various dance competitions at city levels and participated in many state and national level programs.

When did you start learning dance?

I started learning when I was in 1st std. I started learning as a hobby and for the initial four years I learnt various styles like – Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Odisi and Folk dance forms. From 5th Std, I started learning from Guru Pandita Shama Bhate. I went on to take dance as my primary subject at college level and did a BA in dance from Lalit Kala Kedra, Pune University.

Now I am doing my MA under Shama Tai’s guidance from Bharati Vidya Peeth

How did you decide to take it up as a career?

What started as a hobby soon turned into a passion. While I was in high school, my Guru Shama Bhateji and Sureshji Talwalkar suggested it to me and even discussed the same with my parents. They clarified my parent’s doubts and were very understanding. With so much confidence being bestowed by my guru, my parents agreed to the suggestion and supported me in my journey.

how different is the learning process from normal colleges?

All dance universities have gurukul system in India. There are two parts to the learning process – theory and practical learning. While the theory portion is covered in college via lectures, the practical training is to be done with a Guru. Usually, universities have a prescribed list of guru’s and you need to choose your guru from that.

All performing arts education admission is based on entrance exams. You have courses from graduation to masters to PhD level in the university system.

Apart from this there are separate examinations conducted by Gandharva Mahavidyalay which is equivalent to University level BA or MA degrees.

What is the life of a professional dancer? How is it like?

Daily riyaaz and being aware about what is new in your field is extremely important. There will be a minimum 2-3 hours of practice every day. You need to be attuned to the latest happenings and explore various genres like fusion or Bollywood music.

Dance is a physically intensive field. Apart from practice, there will be a lot of travel involved as programs happen all year round and all over India. You will have to build your network and take up performances depending on your capacity. Nowadays there are troupes focusing on classical dance. They call dancers from all over the world and perform together based on a concept.

What are the requirements to take dance as a profession?

Consult your Guru to understand your performance level. Your guru is the best person to guide you. This is an intensive field and you need family support. You need to work on your physical and mental stamina as once you take it as a serious career option, it easily involves 8-10 hours of training.

Another thing that I would like to tell the parents and the students interested in pursuing this career is that there is no immediate glamour. The ever increasing reality shows, show only a part of the actual efforts put in by a dancer and there should be enough thought put in before taking it up professionally.

WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT SYSTEM DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A FULFILLING CAREER IN DANCE?

Classical dance forms or any dance forms  are physically and mentally challenging. For starters, you need 8-10 years of economic support.

When you start giving solo performances you will need good stage, good music, costumes, etc. Learning some video and sound editing skills will be an added advantage. If you are performing with live music, you need good musicians and good support dancers.

Any tips for those planning to take it up as a career?

Don’t fall for the glamour. You will be required to learn for atleast 10-12 years. Your training will be rigorous and one-to-one. Choose an able guru, who will not only teach you the techniques but will also help you explore your creativity and present challenging topics and styles. Keep realistic views about the career and focus on building your network.

What are the career options in this field?

After learning Kathak at BA or MA level, apart from being a professional dancer, you can be a faculty at performing arts universities or you can start your own dance academy. There are also career options in the field of dance related costume designing, make-up and stage management. Apart from my dance institute, I teach two Indian girls in Germany via Skype. So that’s a new way to explore.

You can contact Leena Ketkar on – 9881137578

If you are following your passion or want to bust some myths about traditional careers, then do fill in the GoogleForms and I will feature you on my blog.

Let’s work for change in Indian Education system #LearnNotEducate #BlogchatterProjects

“The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.”

Jean Piaget

 

#LearnNotEducate was something that was born out of the general apathy towards education system that I saw and felt in the young generation.

Let’s Learn not just Educate is a way to highlight satisfying alternative careers and busting myths related to traditional safe careers that will help the future generation choose wisely

A time when they should be brimming with ideas, discussing thoughts that could change the world or just be dreaming big, they were generally stressed, clue-less about the future or too worried about it not being mainstream. This just didn’t feel right.

Just then #BlogchatterProjects was announced and I took that as an opportunity to spread the word and ask for inputs for the idea of #LearnNotEducate.

From my end I looked for alternative careers that were satisfying and feeding the soul. I encouraged people to register for the same, so that I could bring in more stories about how the youth can follow their dreams and be successful too!

Response to Campaign

I did not expect the response that I got!

3,59,307 impressions in just 20 days with over 50 people talking about it!

More than 3,00,000 impressions for the #LearnNotEducate in just 20 days

I understand its nowhere near revolutionizing education in India, but the whole fact that so many people are interested in talking about it and have similar thoughts is encouraging! I as a Mom of two and a freelancer didn’t think my voice mattered, but this was definitely something that I found comforting.

Twitter poll to understand how people feel

A simple question – Do you believe there should be a change in the education system in India brought about some interesting answers and thoughts.

Many people had many voices and it was interesting to see their perspective

Varadarajan Ramesh – Education should be made affordable. These days running a school is a profitable business. Institutions charge preposterous fees for even Montessori. This should change pronto.

Deepa Gandhi  – There are is a need for a bigger change not only in the education system but mentality of people in our country towards it.

Varsha Bagadia – Absolutely! We need a more practical-based approach. Children who have an inclination towards specific subjects should be allowed to pursue only them.

Vikram Kamboj The education in #India should be made intellectually challenging and should questions assumptions rather than based on the rote memorization technique and orthodoxy.

This is just part one! I will be doing a similar round up about my project, and the way I see the future in 1st week of Jan, so stay tuned!

read the other articles from #LearnNotEducate

Shubha Surendra- A culinary artist

Vasudha Gokhale – A counselor and pediatric physiotherapist

Priti Talwalkar – A classical Singer

Snehal Pradhan – A cricketer

I am continuing with #LearnNotEducate series and those who wish to share their alternative careers with the world, please fill in this Google Form and I will get back to you

Career in Cricket- An interview with former Indian cricketer #LearnNotEducate

Have you ever wondered if a career in cricket is a viable option? Cricket or any sports needs tremendous dedication and focus. It’s not something that happens by fluke. I caught up with Snehal Pradhan, a former Indian cricketer to understand what it means to have a career in Cricket.

interview with snehal pradhan about career in cricket

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born and bought up in Pune and did my BSc in Microbiology from Abasaheb Garware College. In my third year, I was selected by Western Railways through sports quota and I started playing for Western Railways cricket team.

I worked in Mumbai for 9-10 years where we worked for half the day and the rest of the day was when we practiced cricket. We also got official leaves for tournaments. I had good facilities and good players, which kept me in the game, otherwise after BSc, I was thinking of doing my MSc as I had to think about a career. This opportunity helped me to continue my game while earning some money.

In 2015 I decided, I had to move on to the next phase of my career.

I had been writing a blog, side-by-side with my cricketing career, but then I realized I was liking it and decided to put a bit more effort. An editor saw my blog and approached me to write for their website which I did intermittently, so when I quit international cricket, I took to writing full time. Since then I have been a freelance sports journalist and in the past 6-9 months, I have also started my YouTube Channel – ‘Cricket with Snehal in Hindi and English’ where I am doing cricket tutorials.

For how many years have you been playing cricket?

I made my debut in under 16 and under 19 Maharashtra. In 2005, I was part of under 21 India tour to Pakistan and In 2008, I made my debut for India at the age 21. I played International cricket and represented India for about 3 years, spread over 10 games. The last international game was in 2011. I continued playing domestic cricket and represented Maharashtra for around 15 years, from 2000-2015.

When was the first time you played cricket?

I don’t really remember. My parents tell me that as a kid, I would just pick-up whatever was around and imitate the cricket shots that were being telecast on TV. I always played with the neighborhood boys and boys in school. That’s how I started playing cricket. When I was in 8th std, my family introduced me to Shubhangi Kulkarni who was a former India captain, and she introduced me to the Indian cricket team,  and that’s how my cricketing journey started.

How did you decide to take it up as a profession?

I always wanted to take cricket as a profession. Earlier cricket was under Woman’s Cricket Association and it wasn’t feasible to take it up as a full time profession. Cricket is now under BCCI.

BCCI took over only in 2006 and my journey started in around 2000. We weren’t earning anything back then but then the Western Railways opportunity came up and that is why I could continue playing cricket semi-professionally, where I worked half-day and the rest of the day was for practice.

 

Was there any resistance at home or from the society?

Thankfully there was no resistance from home and I come from a very open minded family. Both my grandparents were well-educated and open-minded and they always encouraged me in my choices.

From society – There was this one percent people who would come up with resistance in small things like, when I was in 7th std and was training at a club in Pune, they never had a girl there and they didn’t want to show that there was a girl, so they asked me to tuck my ponytail in my hat, so that it isn’t obvious!

Then once when I was working in Mumbai and playing a club level match, I was the only girl in the team and the opposition refused to play with us, citing a reason that they won’t play with a girl. My coaches, the boys with whom I have played were always very supportive.I have a theory that those who have support, only they make it to the ground.

Cricket interview with Snehal Pradhan

What does it take to be a cricketer?

Taking up cricket as a profession is not easy. It means a lot of sacrifices. Right from highschool, summer vacations meant a lot of training and practice, so no vacations as such. The trainings are hectic as you need to get up early in the morning. My parents too were supportive and have put in a lot of effort. My dad dropped me off and picked me up from the training center, at times I used to cycle for around 10 km to reach my training center.

Working and training meant getting up early and directly going to the ground for training, catch some lunch enroute and then go to work. The daily schedule was from morning 6am to evening7pm. It was difficult to manage. Now most of the Indian cricketers have full time contract, so they can afford to not work, but it wasn’t so earlier.

Monsoon is the only time when there are no tournaments, so life is scheduled around cricket season.

Can girls think about taking cricket up as a career?

Now it is much more attractive to take up as a profession. When I was playing, we were under the Women’s Cricket Association, pre BCCI days. We were not paid for playing state level and there were not many facilities in terms of travel and stay. Now, it’s under BCCI, so girls who start get BCCI facilities, they travel by air, get paid for playing state level. If you are selected for the Indian Cricket Team you get paid well. So things are much better and lucrative to make cricket a serious career option.

One down-side is that there aren’t many government organizations that offer jobs in Woman’s Cricket. It’s only the Indian Railways that offers you a job, which you can keep even after you stop playing cricket.

Any tips for those looking at taking up cricket or any sport as a profession?

– Give it everything. Cricket is not a sport that you can excel in with half-hearted efforts. It’s not something that can be done while managing other things. Be completely focused on your game.

– Right from your training days, treat it like a professional athlete would treat it.

– Be passionate about the game

What are the career options available after retirement?

BCCI is coming up with more women focused courses that a cricketer can take. For eg: you can do courses for being a coach or a strength and training coach.

Apart from this you can be

  • Umpire
  • Sports Journalist
  • Scorer

Any advice to the parents of youngsters who are keen on taking up sports as a career?

This is a sport where parents will have to be supportive and involved in their child’s progress. Right from dropping children to their training, to funding their equipment, right food, right sleep habits, everything needs to be provided for and monitored. Parents should however take a backseat on the field. Select a good coach and let the coach take the decisions. Sometimes the parents are too involved and that hampers the child’s growth on the field and off the field as well.

This is an interview in the series of #LearnNotEducate. This is a way to highlight satisfying alternative careers and busting myths related to traditional courses. If you follow an alternate course, and wish to be featured on my blog, fill in this Google Form and I will get in touch with you.

An inspiring story of passion directing your choice of profession #LearnNotEducate

Vasudha’s inspiring journey from a clueless undergrad to a pediatric physiotherapist and counseling psychologist

‘Career counselling, Aptitude testing’ such words never existed in our world back in year 1984 when I finished with my HSC. Todays’ generation is lucky in a way that they get a chance to explore and identify their strengths, get guidance as to which career can suit their overall personality, interest and aptitude. In those days this was not the case.

I missed my admissions for medical just by few marks and then there was a question mark about what to do next. I was not familiar with the words interest or aptitude, but only thing I knew was I loved children, I could get along with them very well and I wanted to work in a field related to children. So when somebody gave me information that there is a stream called ‘Physiotherapy” in which specialization in pediatrics can be done, I just jumped in.

#LearnNotEducate a series on alternative careers. Vasudha is a pediatric physiotherapist and counseling psychologist

Vasudha’s jouney to being a pediatric physiotherapist and counseling psychologist

Looking back, I feel very happy that I took a right decision. After all, which is the right career for you? My answer to that question would be – where your body, mind and soul get aligned, your work gives you inner happiness – that is the right path for you. I was fortunate that the decision I took unknowingly turned out to be perfect for me.

I had most of the abilities such as patience, creativity, communication skills, empathy, physical and mental strength which a pediatric physiotherapist needs and so I was successful. Most importantly, I was happy. I work with children with special needs which gives me immense pleasure. It’s not only me doing therapy for them, but in return, these children and their parents teach me lessons of life.

This world of special children is very different, not known to many people unless one has a special child in close acquaintance. There are many such problems in children due to which their normal childhood development and unfolding of various age appropriate skills does not take place. These children do not attain normal developmental mile stones.  Single or multiple areas of development such as physical skills development, intellectual development, speech and language development, emotional development, social skills development can be hampered and intensity of the problem varies from mild to severe.

Depending upon the type of problem, these children require single or multiple therapies. As a physiotherapist my expertise is in the area of physical skills development, especially gross motor skill development. Any problem involving big joints and muscles of our body which makes it difficult for a child to have stable posture and attain mobility is the main area of work of a pediatric physiotherapist.

Immediately after my graduation, I got married and moved to Middle East countries in 1988. I got a chance to work in the hospitals in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait till 2008. Then we decided to return back to India. My dream of having my own clinic set up where all types of therapies required by special need children will be provided under one roof came true after our return to Pune.  Our SPARSH clinic became functional from March 2009 and went on flourishing. I was very fortunate to get likeminded, sincere and experienced team members who literally live our clinic’s motto i.e.  ‘Professional care with personal touch’.

Sparsh clinic specializing in pediatric physiotherapist and counseling psychologist

If the child has special needs, the challenge of parenting intensifies remarkably. This has an influence on the personal, family, professional and social lives of parents. Depending on the respective family’s, educational, social and financial backgrounds there can be different perspectives of looking at these problems. In fact, even the parents’ mental-emotional strength needs to be enhanced.  Parents do need help and counseling to a degree, which is equal to, or in fact even more than that of the therapy required for the child itself.

I was trying to help both, parents and children intuitively, but I felt the need of acquiring some more skills.  So at one point of time I decided to take formal education for that.  I did one year full time post graduate course in counselling and started my second journey at the age of 45.  As of now, I have taken counselling as my full time career. I work mainly in the field of special need children, taking individual as well as group sessions for children and parents.  Based on my experience in this field, I also wrote a book in Marathi for parents of special children.

My journey started as pediatric physiotherapist and took a turn as counselling psychologist. But both the fields have given me meaning of life, purpose of life. It’s a beautiful thing when a career and passion come together. At the end only thing I want to say is, ‘Do the work that feeds your soul and not your ego’.

You can connect with Vasudha Gokhale on sparshcares@gmail.com

I am running a series on alternative careers, inspiring stories and busting myths about traditional career. If you follow an alternative career or know someone who does, please do fill this form and I will get in touch with you super soon.

Culinary Arts – A satisfying career option – Interview Shubha Shree Surendra #BlogChatterProjects

Everybody need not be an Engineer or a Doctor! The mindset that only mainstream careers mean something, is wrong. The whole month of December, I am looking at alternative careers that can be satisfying as well as rewarding.

I caught up with a 21 year old student pursuing culinary arts. You might wonder what that is! I had the same thoughts, so I did a bit of research online.

What is culinary arts?

In really simple terms, culinary art refers to the process of cooking and arranging food. How many of you thought about ‘MasterChef‘? I know, I did! It piqued my interest, so I decided to do an interview with her. Following are the excerpts from it.

Today we interview Shubha Shree Surendra who is pursuing culinary arts at the North Shore International Academy, Auckland, NZ.

What kind of background is required to apply for this course?

Education wise- you could be anything above a 12th pass student. There are age groups from 17 to 50+ at this institute.
but most importantly- one must have LOTS of patience, determination, physical and mental strength for this course.

Are there entrance tests? when should one start preparing?

Not really, most institutes do not require any prior knowledge or technical skills for this course. However, interviews and cover letters play an important role in fixing yourself a spot at any skill-based institute. Questions are usually based on how passionate you are towards the course as well as WHY you chose this field.

What is the course structure like?

The course that I am doing is a LEVEL 4 And 5 in culinary arts (Doing both levels is optional, but recommended if you want a decent position in the industry).
this is a 2-year course, consisting of 4 terms. You will be taught A-Z of culinary foundation through the 2 years – right from holding your knife to presenting a completed dish.

difference between hotel management and culinary arts?

The culinary arts refer to professions that involve preparing and cooking food. Culinary artists often are compared with restaurant managers in both education and career scope. Generally, the major differentiating factor for culinary artists and hotel management students are the specific college programs, the type of training and experience involved and the actual duties associated with each job. A culinary arts program will have subjects like nutrition and sensory evaluation, American cuisine, international cuisine and meat science. Management programs, in contrast, focus on educating individuals on how to operate the restaurant from a business management perspective.

What are the career prospects?

At the end of 2 years, you will be a certified chef, capable of working at any restaurant/hotel- positions may vary with experience, skill, etc. Other job options could be a personal chef, food stylist, cookbook author, food scientist, and so on.

some tips for students looking for a similar course?

Being a chef is not as easy as people presume, it involves a lot of physical and mental dedication every single day. For a chef, the holiday season is the busiest so forget partying during New year’s or vacationing during long weekends- this is when you’d be expected to show up in the kitchen. Do not join this profession if you are not passionate/interested in cooking; a lot of people I know have ended up choosing this course because they think they have no other option or they want to give this a “try”. Take my word, you will not be happy if you cannot give this your 100%.
what some people also don’t know is that cleaning and maintenance of hygiene plays a major role in the kitchen so expect to wash dishes when you enter the industry- that is how you grow and learn.

The kitchen is a hot, loud, noisy, busy but extremely satisfying place with a high swear-word frequency: be mentally prepared.

Can these courses be done in India? what should a student look for while choosing an institute?

India has several schools/colleges that offer a course in hotel management but only a handful that offer a mainstream culinary course.
Personally, I did not enjoy my experience in the culinary college I studied at, in India. Most Indian schools have a different approach with the education system, but then again- it’s just a personal opinion. There are 100’s of wonderfully talented chef’s that Indian schools have produced as well.
My advice before choosing your school would be: RESEARCH. Do thorough research of the school you choose. Ask questions, do not hold back. One tip would be to ask previous alumni- the ones who are not mentioned on the college website, if you want honest answers.

What is the process of applying for foreign universities and what should the student keep in mind?

Pretty much the same goes for any institute across the world. Do thorough research before choosing what fits your criteria and vision. Few things to keep in mind:
– know your rights, rules and regulations of the country before choosing.

  • If you wish to work during your study period, find out visa restrictions and availability of jobs.
  • Research everything about the country- from cost of living to future opportunities (if you wish to stay back).
  • Most students apply for universities/ colleges through an agent- I did too. It is a much faster and easier way of application as they help make sure all criteria are met and processes complete.
  • Most countries require test of language. Exams like IELTS/TOEFL, etc can be attempted, based on what the country accepts.

Last Thoughts

I hope this was an informative interview, the way it was for me. And I sincerely hope this will help more students and parents choose from the various career avenues that are now available.

Are you following your passion and have chosen an alternate career? Or maybe you know someone who has. Connect with me on nehatambe.dm@gmail.com or fill in the form below!Have any queries or wish to add more information or share this post? Share it with #LearnNotEducate

Are we raising a generation of escapists and cowards? My reason to start #LearnNotEducate

A bright student kills herself when court passes directive supporting National level entrance exams for medical

Every hour one student commits suicide in India

The most shocking was the Rayan International murder, where a XI standard student murdered a small child just to postpone his exam and parent teacher meet!

What have we come to? Is it easier for children to be murderers than face an exam or Parent Teacher Meet? Is your personal life, so immaterial that you prefer giving it up than standing up and finding second chances? Have we made our future generation so weak and a coward? If this is the coming generation how are they going to face the many challenges that life throws at them?

Questions like these and many more were hounding me since I read that article and it made me wonder if we have messed up our kids future in the name of ‘no pressure childhood’

We seem to be swinging like a pendulum – from too much pressure to absolutely no pressure. Is this really a workable solution?

Child’s Exposure

The current system of no exams, no punishment, no negative words and no failing, though established with good intentions seem to be working adversely. No exams mean the child has no idea of how well he is doing. No Negative remarks mean the parents have no idea if they need to help their child in a certain subject. I certainly don’t support corporal punishments or failing a child, but regular feedback good or bad is essential for the child to develop. Introducing vocational courses in school level and a possible option of making that a field of study from high school itself might help in easing the pressure. The child will be exposed to a variety of field of education apart from the traditional 8-9 subjects taught in school.

Parental Responsibility

We can’t just sit back and say “We have been paying enough fees to the school so the responsibility lies with the school to educate my child” We are paying for quality education, but if the child needs extra support in certain subjects we need to help. Not every child will be a topper, we need to accept that and let them blossom at their pace. A child might have talents in other areas – be it dance, singing, elocution, sports or craft. As parents it is our duty to let them explore and help them be the best version of themselves in whichever field that interests them. Not expecting the child to be an all-rounder and ensuring that he/she gets enough time and exposure to follow their passion might help in creating world-class sportsmen, musicians and toastmasters.

Everyone need not be a Doctor or an Engineer

This has been amply proven in the past few years, when many engineers have turned authors or musicians. I am not saying a child will figure it out when he is a kid, but as parents if the child chooses a different profession than the main-stream careers, we need to be supportive of them. Saturation of  a few traditional course is not only going to create intense competition in that field but will also inhibit a child. Dignity of labor should be ingrained right from childhood. An environmentalist or a pet-trainer is an equally respectable profession as an engineer or a doctor for the simple reason that we need them and they help a society function, just like any other profession.

World is their oyster

Instead of everyone running in the same rat-race, lets help our children blossom. See the international curriculum where there is equal focus on learning vocational and non-vocational courses. We need a change in mindset and a strong belief that talent and intelligence is not limited to bookish knowledge and 99% marks. As seen in the past – World Leaders, Entrepreneurs and even Sportsmen haven’t scored an A in the exams but have been an A-lister in life!

If you know someone who is following a satisfying alternative career or you are doing one, do fill the form below. My goal with #LearnNotEducate is to showcase to the children and their parents that passionate people can create amazing lives – a bad result is not the end of the world.

 

How to be a freelance dietitian and manage home and career #FreelancerFriday

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I am a postgraduate and MPhil in Foods and Nutrition. I have also done some short courses on nutrition along with my internship. One short course which I really enjoyed doing was on ‘Food Management” which I did in Milwaukee, US.

I did my internship at Mallya hospital Bangalore and now I am a freelancer

What are the career options for a certified dietitian?

These days there are a lot of career options for a dietitian or a nutritionist. As people are far more conscious about their health these days, the careers are not only restricted to a hospital. One can join a hospital or a health center as a dietitian or can also start an independent practice after he/she has enough experience. Many people work as an independent consultant also. Writing nutrition or health related articles is also popular these days.

Another option which is one of my favourite is to work as a teacher or a lecturer in the field of foods and nutrition in colleges or high schools.

How did you come up with the idea of being a freelance dietitian?

I always wanted to work in a good hospital as a dietitian but God had some different plans for me. I was still doing my masters when I got married. Then I joined Malaya hospital for an internship but soon moved to the US. I did some courses in food management while staying there. We decided to come back to India after staying in the US for 5 years. Under my father’s guidance who was in teaching line, I did my M.Phil. in Foods and nutrition to be a lecturer. I already had two kids at that time and the younger one was just 1 year old.

At that time, there were not too many options for a dietitian in India. A hospital job had no weekends off and there was an option of only one weekly off. I wanted to be with my girls and also continue my work. So, the idea of being a freelance dietitian came up.

How does it work?

I started this with few of my friends who wanted help with their meal plans. Slowly, through word of mouth people came to know about me. Now I have some online clients. So, it mostly works through emails or phone. Other than consultations, I also write nutrition-related articles according to my knowledge of the subject. The only difference as compared to working in a hospital is that it is more flexible. I can work with the ease of my home and also consult or share the plans whenever I am free.

have you faced any problems when it comes to establishing a trust factor with your patients?

I didn’t find any such problems till now. But in any such profession, trust factor only comes after a client gets the desired results. And that can be in a hospital or a clinic too.

Would you call it a satisfying option?

Yes, I love it as it gives me the flexibility to work. I feel satisfied as at least I am in touch with my field of education through few clients and through my writings. It also gives me the freedom to follow my passion and do other things like blogging and choreography.

Any tips for those looking to go the freelancer way?

As a freelancer, do not expect it to be same as a full-time job. Build a trust with your clients. It takes time to get work and also build a reputation. So, be patient and don’t lose hope. Also, the money factor is not same as what you would get in a full-time job, at least not initially. Slowly you can discover different things and avenues.

Author Bio

Deepa is a dietitian by education, Blogger by passion, a mommy of two girls, she shares all her experiences through her creative eyes as a blogger at http://kreativemommy.com.

Follow her on her blog to read about her thoughts and ideas on everything about life. It is a one place solution for all your queries related to nutrition, travelling, parenting, and everything life.