As Beijing was enjoying the thrills of the 2008 summer Olympics, Prachi Gupta packed up with her family and moved from Bangkok after her husband was offered a job in the capital. Gupta was a stay-at-home mom of their daughter when she started working part time for the Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing). She moved to a full time position shortly afterwards and has taught Business Management and Economics for the past seven years. Gupta shares with us her childhood memories and teaching experience thus far.
What’s was your favorite subject when you were a student? Why?
I liked mathematics and later on in high school I liked Accounting. I like numbers, so mathematics was relatively easy for me, and I got good grades.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? What other career options did you explore before teaching?
As a kid, I had always wanted to be a teacher. After I finished my Masters in Management Studies (majoring in Finance), I joined a Securities Exchange firm as an Equity Research Analyst, where I learned a lot but did not enjoy the job much. I then joined a Private Sector Bank and got an opportunity to work in different departments: I worked in the Treasury and the Loans and Advances departments for a few years each. However, teaching was my calling, and now I am here – enjoying every single lesson.
How would you (or your students) describe your teaching style?
Organized, focused, relaxed, persistent, caring, and funny. Very clear – explains theories very well. Uses a lot of examples and hands-on activities.
What are some of the topics you cover?
IGCSE and IB are very curriculum driven and we cover all the topics in the syllabus and beyond; broadly, the topics include Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Economics, and Developmental Economics.
What topic was the most challenging to cover with children? Why?
Microeconomics is the most challenging to teach. This is mainly because it is taught very early in the course and forms the foundation to economic concepts learnt in the following units. At this stage, they lack a maturity of knowledge and find it difficult to understand – but this unit is the base on which all their knowledge is built.
What topic was the most interesting to your students? Why?
Our students come from different countries and they quite enjoy the International Economics unit, mostly because they can easily relate to it and understand the different concepts. What really interests them the most is Developmental Economics; however, they can also get frustrated and emotional when we research and discuss poverty.
How do you encourage your students to be passionate about Economics?
When we discuss real life examples and news articles, students are intrigued and able to relate to Economics, bringing the best out of a lesson. I think my passion for Economics just gets passed on to them through my words!
What class project in your teaching career was the most meaningful to you?
In my first few years of teaching Economics, I would introduce the topics by explaining the concept, drawing the models on the white board, and felt that the students were getting impressed by my logical explanations. In recent years I have come to realize that students were not as engaged, for they were not made to “think”. Now, with more experience and after sharing ideas with other teachers, I use activities where students try and build concepts with their own understanding and experiences. Most of the time they are correct with only minor errors! Hence over the years my teaching style has changed quite a lot.
This article originally appeared on page 36 of the September 2016 Issue of beijingkids magazine. Click here for your free online copy. To find out how you can obtain a hard copy, contact email@example.com.
Photo: Courtesy of YCIS Beijing