Stree Shakthi: Lessons Beyond Lifetimes
“Gurur Brahmā Gurur Viṣṇur Gurur devo MaheśvaraḥGuru Mantra
Guruḥ sākṣāt paraṁ Brahma tasmai śrī gurave namaḥ”
Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Mahesvara. Guru is limitless, my sincere salutations to my revered Guru. The guru is the creator of knowledge, the protector of knowledge and destroyer of darkness in our minds. It is a profession that requires dedication, patience, and an utmost commitment to helping others grow, learn, and thrive with little expectation. I have hardly seen them sit during classes and sometimes teach without a break. Let us hear from a Guru – Lakshmi Sundandara Babu- who has been in the teaching profession for nearly 3 decades.
- What inspired you to take up teaching as a profession?
It was my father who inspired me to take up teaching as my profession. Growing up I saw my father teach young kids in my village. This naturally inspired me to take up teaching. There’s a sense of accomplishment we get with this profession. Our ability to influence young minds by imparting knowledge is the best part of the job.
- Having navigated your career, for almost 3+ decades now, what was the most challenging phase, as a woman?
I have been in the teaching profession for the past 28 years. After my marriage and the birth of my son, there was a financial crunch in my family which pushed me to get back to work which I loved dearly. I had quit my work briefly to look after my in-laws and my newborn. When I decided to get back to the teaching profession managing time between my personal life and professional life was the most difficult part. I was lucky enough to have secured a job that had flexibility to leave after 10 AM and reach before sunset.
- What is your opinion on the quality of education from when you started to now?
It has got more competitive and focussed on landing a high paying job, which in my opinion is important but that’s not the only thing that matters as well. I feel the students of the current generation should find that the real drive and passion for the subject, especially the ethical and moral values it imparts to us. The way classes are conducted has changed by leaps and bounds, a classic example of all is how we managed to conduct classes while we navigated the COVID situation. Digitalization has certainly been a key factor that has positively impacted our profession. However, my true wish would be to make use best of the new technology to widen their skills.
- What would you highlight as the most satisfying achievement of your career, so far?
In my career, I have held many positions across different educational institutions and boards as part of review committees reviewing their upcoming educational curriculum, and conducting examinations. Our college secured a short-term empirical research project under a Central Government scheme called “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Garmin (PMAY-G)”. It is notable to mention that this was granted to only two colleges in entire Tamil Nadu and my college co-ordinator vested the responsibility with me and some of my colleagues to represent our college in this project.
Besides the awards and recognition that I have received, I am proud of he people I have earned in my career. I have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best minds across different domains.
- How do you encourage your colleagues or your students to brainstorm?
Being friendly is the best way to enable students to think freely and discuss topics that otherwise students might have apprehension about speaking about. Relating to their struggles and showing empathy for their situation brings in a sense of trust among students. This in turn enables them to listen to me when I advise them.
- Your advice for young girls looking to pursue teaching as their career?
I would strongly urge all young girls who want to maintain a healthy work-life balance to consider teaching as a good career choice. There are a lot of non-monetary benefits that come along with this career which is mostly overlooked.
Lakshmi Sundandarababu, is an Associate Professor in the Commerce Department. Has been teaching for well over 25 years. She has also served as the Head of the Department for M.Com(Corporate Secretaryship) between 2019-2023. She also hold a doctorate degree in the field of commerce specializing in “Impact of Stress and work life Balance of Women in banking sector“. May her words enlighten you and guide you in a good direction.