“We need to prepare our students for the demands of the future.”
Having started her career as an Electrical Engineer, Ms. Ahlada’s passion for Computer Science brought her to Ekya Schools. Today, she designs the Computer curriculum for Grades 1 to Grade 12 at the Ekya Learning Center. In addition to setting the learning areas of the subject, she also teaches Computer Science at Senior School of Ekya ITPL. With a B.E in Electronics and Instrumentation from Madras University, she also holds an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University, a certification in SAS training and a B.Ed.
Working with artificial intelligence a few years ago versus designing the Ekya curriculum, we sit down with Ms. Ahlada and speak to her about her experience with Ekya Schools and her transition into the role of a curriculum developer and teacher. Here are the excerpts:
Q: What do you do at Ekya Schools? How does your day of work typically go at Ekya Schools?
I work as a curriculum developer for Ekya Learning Center. I develop, maintain and update Computer Science curriculum across Grades 1 to 12. My typical day at Ekya begins at 8 am and ends by 4.15 pm. My daily responsibilities include:
- Researching digital platforms that are being used in other curricula and their effectiveness in the teaching-learning process for Computer Science
- Planning the units for each grade level.
- Designing learning plans.
- Creating review papers.
- Creating resource material for the curriculum.
- Incorporating meaningful technological integration that would encourage the students in solving real world problems.
- Evaluating the designed curriculum by assimilating and observing students’ work.
Q: How is the culture here at Ekya? How is it working here and what do you enjoy about it?
The culture at Ekya is open, warm and welcoming. Ekya stands for the ideal, ‘United as One”. Every morning, students are greeted by their class teachers before they enter the class. Teachers are welcomed by the head of the school with a handshake and a warm smile. Students and teachers at Ekya Schools create Social Contracts, where they decide how the behaviour of a class or a team should be.
At Ekya Learning Center, we engage in lively group discussions and share ideas and resources with one another. I enjoy the bonhomie at my workplace and the healthy, intelligent interactions that help us work well as a team.
Q: How did you transition from your previous role to the one you hold at Ekya right now?
My previous jobs include being part of an R&D project where I performed predictive analysis using artificial intelligence mechanisms for power system contingency studies. I had also worked as a data analyst for a short while after which I took a break due to family commitments. I joined Ekya School, ITPL as a computer science teacher in 2012. Being able to leave on time helped me take care of family needs and I could compartmentalize work and home as two different spaces.
Q: How have you changed as a person, coming in from a corporate fold?
Being a teacher meant engaging with students, collaborating and exchanging ideas and information with them. This was an immense learning curve for me. I began to understand the importance of the teaching learning process, classroom management, the right ways of communication. This experience has helped me become a lifelong learner. I have also taken away important aspects like empathy, teamwork, social responsibility, personalized teaching and incorporated it in my personal life. This was in stark contrast to my previous job where I was tied to a machine for long hours and had a very monotonous work life.
Q: Have you ever seen yourself be part of an educational set-up prior to Ekya? How has the community here help you find your feet?
No. I felt the need to have work life balance and looked at educational institutions as a way of meeting my expectations. After joining Ekya, I found that I enjoyed teaching. Every single day as a teacher is a unique experience with its own set of challenges. My peer group and the vice principal helped me get my bearing with constructive feedback and support. Ekya helped me feel at home and encouraged my thoughts on how the Computer Science curriculum could be changed to better suit our changing world. After five years as a teacher and understanding the needs of students, I transitioned as a curriculum developer. Ekya continues to guide me as I learn new things and contribute to shaping the future of many, many students in a meaningful manner.
Ms. Ahlada believes that we need to gear our education to create innovators and thinkers who can tackle the challenges of an increasingly tech-dependent world.
And at Ekya, we are doing exactly that! Using immersive and experiential teaching methods that help students live the lesson, our schools enable students to explore, understand, build memories and become lifelong learners. And to help them become lifelong learners, we are looking for space explorers, painters and inventors who teach!
We are hiring! If you are considering to become an educator, to make a career switch to teaching – one that is dynamic and multi-faceted, we look forward to your application here.