We’ve had three new academic teachers join us this year at MPA, Chandni Sood, Harjit Kaur and Siri Parmeshar Singh. Here’s a little bit about each of them:
Chandni Sood: Combined Science, Biology
Masters in Chemistry from Khalsa College, Bachelors of Education
Prior to coming to MPA: taught at Ryan International School
I was very excited when I saw there was a teaching vacancy at MPA. It is a very high endeavour. I was always eager to see the new videos on YouTube. The day I was appointed, I thought that I was really lucky to be able to teach here and that I would be able to develop professionally. When Kiran Ma’am gave me the job, she congratulated me and I felt relaxed that I was on the right track. I feel that if I’m successful here, I’ll be successful in the future.
I feel that the most important thing to be successful at MPA is to build relationships with the children. That is the first thing. As we build these relationships, we gain their respect. Success takes effort and hard work. We should also have patience and not lose hope. If we keep working, one day we will achieve. We should always try and not be discouraged. When mistakes are pointed out, we should learn from those mistakes.
Chemistry is my favourite subject because you can relate it to practical life. There is nothing to learn by rote; you can link everything in chemistry to your daily life.
Harjit Kaur: English, Punjabi, Maths
Education: Masters in English from Khalsa College, Bachelors of Education from Guru Nanak Dev University
Prior to coming to MPA: taught for eight years at Baba Budha College
I feel very lucky to be part of MPA. It is a multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-language place, which makes things interesting. I feel there’s a lot I can learn here to improve my skills and I’m very happy to be a part of this. Of course there are a lot of challenges. I’m teaching English to English as a second language students from many different countries. They don’t know English very well so I use the help of a translator. While I’m teaching English, I’m also learning German, Spanish and lots of other languages. So it is a challenging job but I accept challenges.
Teaching is a life long process, from cradle to grave. My goal is to be a versatile teacher. I’m teaching English but also mathematics and Punjabi. I want to be professional in all of these subjects so that I can satisfy my students. Even though I’m not a good artist, I will draw and do things that make learning easier for them.
My favourite book is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. When I read that book, I get lost in their world. I also just read John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Siri Parmeshar Singh: Physics and Biology
Education: Bachelor of Science in Biology, minor in Physics, minor in Chemistry from the University of New Mexico; Graduate of MPA, 2010
I gained a lot of things from my time at MPA. When I left, I felt as though I’d steered clear of a couple of serious psychological traps and a big part of that was due to meditation as well as a staff that genuinely loved me and cared about me. For all of the challenges I endured while at MPA, I had also received these gifts from the program. A desire to give back for those gifts and possibly address some of the challenges, among which was this old-style teaching that didn’t click with my type of brain, steered me towards MPA.
As with everything, teaching at MPA has been different than I had expected it to be. I definitely had a fantasy that if I showed up with the best that we have in terms of solving problems and understanding the world around us, the subject would just absorb a bunch of students and it would be a beautiful thing. And it is to a large extent, but this program is super intense and the students are developing on many levels simultaneously. I understand that it’s not everything that I thought it was going to be but it’s also more. I couldn’t have anticipated the joy in the moments when you do connect or when someone does grasp that concept that they were having trouble with. I couldn’t have anticipated how nice those moments would be.
I think Living with a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich is my favorite book to date. I recently also re-discovered proper literature in the form of Toni Morrison’s Beloved. I read that style of literature as a kid and never really appreciated it. There’s lots of metaphor and symbolism that I wasn’t mature enough to understand. That was a cool discovery and I’m looking forward to getting more into fiction as I’ve been reading only technical books for a while now.