I am a loner and an introvert. However, put me in front of a stage, and you would see a Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde transformation. I see myself as more of an entertainer than a teacher. Robin Williams gives me the confidence to say some atrocious stuff (without hurting anyone) on stage.
My teaching philosophy is quite simple (I do not claim that this is ideal, just that it has worked well for me and hopefully most of my students)
- Get straight to the bottom of things. You can do this only if you have understood concepts well. So work hard before class lest you look like a fool.
- Less is more. Teach the essentials and urge the students to work out the rest.
- Humour is essential, but it should always be self-deprecatory.
- Create an atmosphere where students can talk to you about anything – anything, either in class or in private.
IIT Madras has an anonymous student feedback mechanism, and I have done reasonably well on that front, resulting in the “Young Faculty Recognition Award” by IIT Madras in 2012.
I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis shortly after I got the award, severely limiting my ability to function. I cannot speak continuously for too long, and this gets worse from time to time. I have done my best to ensure this does not affect my confidence and teaching. Typically I have been successful, but not always. I apologise to any student who felt I could have done better.