By Philippe De Jesus
Shaila Ramachandran is a ninth grade Biology teacher at Summit Public School: Rainier. She is one of the teachers who are new to campus this school year.
- What were your parents’ jobs?
“My dad is a software engineer who works at Intel, and my mom works as a director for a non-profit organization called Micro Mentor,” Ms. Ramachandran said.
2. How is Summit different to other schools and how did that difference make you pick this school?
“What I really liked about Summit was the mentoring program,” Ms Ramachandran said. “I started doing mentoring last year in my previous school which made the whole job of teaching so much more enjoyable, and it helped build deeper connections with other students.”
3. How have your parents supported your career choices?
“My parents have always said that they support me in whatever I do, but my dad was a little bit afraid of me teaching me for a long term and wanted me to something that would give me more money,’’ Ms. Ramachandran said. “My dad was a little bit surprised and concerned when I continued teaching, but today they still support me in whatever I do as long as I keep growing in what I’m doing.”
4. What are you contributing to this community?
“I want students to feel more comfortable being in a science classroom because I think science can make a lot of students nervous, so they automatically assume they’re not good at it,” Ms. Ramachandran said. “I want to be able to show students that they can be comfortable or confident in a subject even if it can be challenging for them. I want to help students build more life skills by teaching them how to research and to speak publicly that can help them in later life.”
- Why did you become a teacher?
“In college, I started teaching because I was actually teaching health classes, and then I realized that I enjoyed working with students so much,” Ms. Ramachandran said. “I like teaching because it is challenging and every day is different so you can’t really predict what is really going to happen.”
- Do you plan on continuing being a teacher, and, if not, what other job would you want to pursue?
“I definitely do plan on continuing being a teacher,” Ms. Ramachandran said. “ If I would ever to leave teaching, then I would do something in the health field or a little bit of counseling because I would want to help support students.”
- Have you always wanted to be a teacher since when you were young?
“When I was really little, all the way to high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I wanted to take care of animals,” Ms Ramachandran said. “I worked in a zoo and realized that I liked interacting more with people, so I thought I might want to work in health care, but then I started teaching in college.”
- What do you like most about your teaching career?
“I like that no matter how difficult my day may be going outside of work, I can always come to work and be surrounded by students who are making me smile or laugh,” Ms. Ramachandran said. “There’s always going to be students that will make life more enjoyable.”
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
“My greatest strength is being flexible; if something doesn’t go perfectly I can find something else to do that might work out better,” Ms. Ramachandran said. “My other strength would be my sense of humor because sometimes, even when I’m feeling frustrated, I turn to humor instead of feeling frustrated by saying something sarcastic or making a joke that I can laugh about with other students. My weakness would be not taking things personally, because sometimes I take it personally when I think I haven’t done a good job helping someone.”
- What do you think are some characteristics a teacher should commit to?
“Teaching requires a lot of planning and thinking, so you can only do that and create a high quality lesson if you are willing to put in the time,” Ms. Ramachandran said. “Being flexible is very important knowing that not everything will go as planned because sometimes the projector is not working or that the lesson you thought in your head doesn’t actually meet the students’ needs. Another characteristic I think a teacher should have is a sense of humor because the students are just going to be sitting there and not make it interesting at all which can make it very boring.”