Sanyogita’s Intro in her own words:
A dancer, dreamer, soon-to-be-teacher, and a lifelong voracious reader: these are just a few of the pursuits and passions that have shaped my life until now.
How did you come to the US? For studies or as a dependent?
I moved to the United States from Bombay with my parents when I was two years old; my father was employed in a software company based in New York City. Since then, our family has been living in the USA, and I completed my education here as well.
What were the challenges you faced during/after your transition from India to here? How did you overcome those challenges?
Since I moved to the US when I was a very young child, the transition from my life in India to a new country never felt jarring. Instead, my parents were able to meld these two cultures seamlessly for me, teaching me both English and my mother tongue (Marathi), telling and encouraging me to read the stories and learn the histories of both the cultures that I inhabited. I was fortunate and privileged enough to live and grow up in a community that has a large presence of Indian American immigrants, and to be able to return to India in my summer vacations. As a result, I was always comfortably immersed in both cultures, and studying Indian Classical Dance (Kathak) and music (passions that remain to this day) strengthened my connections to my roots.
What did you do your Masters in? How do you think this education has helped you in your career?
I completed my Masters degree in English Education this past May; this graduate program was a five-year program, in which I could complete my masters degree alongside my bachelors degree. I had wanted to be a part of this program since twelfth grade, when I first started applying to colleges; I had known for many years that I wanted to become an English teacher, and this program was both rigorous and ideally suited to my professional goals. Being a part of this Masters program has been a joy; while challenging, it encouraged me to grow as a teacher and human being, and gave me a strong foundation in the field of education. I was able to work with professors and members of the educations community whom I respected deeply. I was also able to work with incredible students, who have pushed me to constantly refine my practice as a teacher, and who continually make my time in the classroom a joy because of their creativity and enthusiasm.
What do you attribute your success to?
I would definitely attribute my achievements today to the people and experiences that have come my way in this journey. My mother is certainly my greatest role model; a dance teacher herself, she is compassionate and humble, always seeking to learn from her students and celebrate their achievements, a sign of true strength. I have also been surrounded by wonderful teachers throughout my time as a student in high school, college, and graduate school. These teachers shared their knowledge and resources with such generosity, and exemplify what it means to be a part of the community of education, where knowledge and talent are never hoarded for personal use, but shared and made ever more valuable.
What were your initial days as a student like?
My initial days as a masters student were certainly overwhelming! Since this program was completed in conjunction with my bachelors degree (an honors degree in English Literature), the last year of my undergraduate career overlapped with the first year of graduate school, resulting in a heavy workload. At first, I wondered if I would be able to balance the field placements (practical student teaching placements), the papers, my senior thesis, and exams—however, the initial feelings of stress were gradually alleviated as I got used to the pacing of the two programs. Additionally, both of these programs were my passion-I love literature and the field of education, and the sheer joy of being one step closer to my professional goals was incredibly motivational.
What was the driving factor for you to choose to study in the field of “Education” and choose a career path in this field?
I chose to study the field of English education and become an English teacher because of the strong teacher figures I have met throughout my time as a student, and my own love for literature. Literature—any book of any genre—has the ability to connect humans to previous voices, experiences, and histories. The act of reading is really just engaging in conversation—whenever you look a new text, and flip through the pages, you are witnessing that author’s emotions and experiences. As a result, reading becomes one of the most powerful actions we can perform; by choosing to engage with unknown worlds and experiences, we open our minds, and become compassionate, informed humans with the ability to communicate and empathize. I am in love with this process, and always hoped to be able to share my own passion for literature in the classroom. I also deeply value the interactions and conversations that can be facilitated in a classroom; students are so creative and enthusiastic, that you come away from each discussion feeling energized and pushed to think in new ways about material that you thought you already knew and understood well.
What does work-life balance mean to you?
For me, as I begin my professional life, I hope to be able to continue the hobbies that I’ve always been passionate about—my dance, music, and writing. I am lucky enough to be able to say that the work that I’m doing, and the career that I’m pursuing, are what I’m truly passionate about and invested in, and I hope that the enthusiasm and anticipation that I feel as I think of my first job will continue to drive me. However, it is so essential to have an outlet: any hobby that puts a smile on your face, a simple hangout with friends and family, or a quiet, soothing cup of coffee, can serve as a balm to a hectic, fast-paced workweek.
What is your advice to the younger folks who aspire to pursue their education and careers in “English Education”?
One of the greatest lessons I have learned as a (very new) teacher is that you are never truly done with the learning process—and this is the most engaging, wonderful part of being a teacher! Return to the materials you are teaching—whether a new genre of writing, a work of literature, or a discussion—in the student mindset. Approach what you teach with curiosity and humility and always be willing to reconsider your ideas about and analysis of whatever you have learned. This will always help you find inspiration in your work.
Author: Sanyogita Padhye
Sanyogita is originally from Mumbai and now lives in the New Jersey area. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in “Education” from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. She is a dancer, dreamer, soon-to-be-teacher, and a lifelong voracious reader! She loves literature and the field of Education and is excited to start her career in this field very soon!