“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward
Though teaching is a fulfilling profession, it is definitely a hard one as well. Just as a passionate teacher has the power to mould the student, an indifferent teacher can break the student.
In late 2013, Erin, an autistic girl from the US, was desperately looking for a teacher to help her with her MBA coursework. She checked out many e-learning platforms, but nobody was willing to take her on because of her condition.
But soon she met Priyanka P.V., a teacher of management studies from Bengaluru, who agreed to help her study.
“Erin had speech and behavioural issues. But, I took her. For me, Erin was a challenge because I had to really simplify management jargon. I had to keep repeating myself for her to understand,” says Priyanka.
Priyanka, like many teachers in India, has taken advantage of e-learning platforms to educate children across the world.
Photo source: seniorscomputer.net
But what makes her different from the others is that she uses platforms like ThinkVidya to reach out to autistic students and help them with their course work.
Priyanka burnt the midnight oil to teach Erin nearly 30 management subjects. It was hard for Erin as well. She failed her exams a couple of times, before getting it right. However, the reward for both of them came when Erin passed the her MBA with a distinction and applied for a Ph. D in Statistics.
“Erin had got a job as a researcher. I was so proud of her. It is very sad. But, Erin passed away after having a fall last year,” says Priyanka.
The impact she had created in Erin’s life made Priyanka take up teaching more such students.
Today, Priyanka takes pride in teaching 5 autistic students from countries like China, UK, Indonesia, etc.
“They just seem to find me on these e-learning portals,” she says.
Natile Berkman from China, who is pursuing a BBM course, is another student who owes a lot to Priyanka.
“I get demotivated a lot due to the way I am and because studies are hard. But Priyanka ma’am is like an angel. She has given me so much of encouragement. People have called me a loser. But today I can show them my good grades. And I have to thank Priyanaka ma’am for that,” she says.
Despite its rewards, teaching Autistic students has its fair share of challenges. For instance, many of them find it difficult to study subjects like statistics and financial management which are number-heavy. For such subjects, Priyanka sends the notes in advance so they that it is easier for them to understand when she teaches.
“These students face a lot of other challenges as well. So we, as teachers, have to be mindful about that and be patient,” she says.
Another reason why Priyanka stands out from the rest is because she does pro bono work with these students. Priyanka also wears many hats. She is the Director of the Philip Kotler Center for Advanced Marketing, is pursuing a Ph.D, and also takes classes for management students.
“It is hectic. But I love taking time out for these students. The difference I make in their lives is what keeps me going,” she says.
Priyanka can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or on +91-9448687617.