Behind The Desk: Ms. Bhagwat

Behind The Desk: Ms. Bhagwat

Skye Mai and Eun Tomlin

What does your education background look like?

So I kind of had a weird path to education. I went to UCLA for my undergrad. And I originally wasn’t sure what I wanted to be. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer for a while, like a public defender. But I wanted to take a gap year, so I did a program called Teach for America and they placed you wherever they want in the country, where they need teachers. So that’s how I ended up moving from California to Indianapolis. And I was there for five years and taught high school at two different high schools there.

How does teaching at West compare to the two other schools that you taught?

It’s very comparable. I love how diverse West is and that was super important to me. When finding a new school once I moved, I love how kind and involved the student body is. I love the staff, as well. So just a very welcoming environment, which is exactly what I was looking for because I was nervous moving to a new city and moving to a new school, but it’s been good.

Why did you want to become a teacher?

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to make a difference. So that’s why I tried teaching and then I just fell in love with it. I don’t think I could go back to a desk job or go to law school and study for three more years. I think I found what I wanted to do and I just really love getting to interact with people all day and really feel like I’m making an impact and getting to see other people be able to achieve their dreams is really, really valuable to me.

How did the pandemic impact your career as a teacher and in general?

The pandemic was really rough for me. I’m a very social person. And the thing I love about teaching is getting to see people and getting to make an impact though. Not seeing students every day and just being in front of a computer was really tough for me. But I think on the positive side, I think it made us rethink a lot of things about education, like what’s super important for life. I think I realized that it’s really important for students to be able to interact with each other like that’s such a big part of school. And I think it also pushed me to think of innovative ways to teach and how to use technology and leverage that to make sure that students are still learning.

What is one change you want to instill in the new generation that you teach?

I want them to be able to be critical thinkers. I think your generation is interesting because you’re the first generation that’s grown up with a smartphone and social media. I think I was on the cusp, like it came out when I was in high school, so we never grew up with being able to look up something immediately. So, I think with all the information that’s out there, and with all the connections I hope that the new generation can still have the ability to think critically. To look at all like the information from a non-biased viewpoint and be able to kind of separate social media from reality.

What is the best memory you had as a teacher?

The first school that I taught at I used to do student council, so we had to plan prom. We had no resources and a group of five students that were on it. We’re just kind of a ragtag team and we somehow put this prom together. It was actually really good and the kids had so much fun. It was just so nice to see everyone dressed up and really enjoying themselves. As much as I love teaching math, I really enjoy seeing students thrive in other areas. Whether it’s sports or dances, it’s just so cool to see them in a different environment just enjoying life.