Skip To Content

    7 Indians Tell Us The Joys And Struggles Of Leaving Corporate Jobs To Become Teachers

    "It was fun to walk into a fancy office and feel all important, but I soon got bored. So now, I walk into a classroom full of 60 crazy kids who are always excited and screaming and life is not the same anymore."

    Teach For India is an NGO where young men and women from across the country volunteer to teach children in small schools with limited means, in a two-year long Fellowship. BuzzFeed spoke to a few of the Fellows to understand why they chose to abandon their seemingly cushy lives to teach children:

    1. Kshipra Ajrekar, 20, mass media student

    Teach For India

    How she started: "I knew that education is the only potential channel of redemption for the human race, and maybe doing something would let me sleep at night peacefully."

    How did people react: "They’re all extremely supportive and encouraging, and secretly tell relatives that they’re really proud of me."

    Biggest perk of the job: "I’ve always been enamoured by all the tick marks, comments and stars that I would get in school, and I find immense satisfaction in giving the same to my children. Also, the spontaneous belly hugs given by my kids who’re only tall enough to wrap their arms around my waist."

    Advice for other aspiring teachers: "Go for it. I am living proof of the kind of personal transformation you undergo right from institute to every single day in the classroom or community."

    2. Ankita, 30, banker

    Teach For India

    How she started: "After spending seven years with a bank, I wanted to put myself out there in unknown, in middle of a new challenge, push my limits, and triumph."

    How did people react: "'You supported me in first three years of my startup, now it’s my time to return the favour,' said my husband when I told him about my decision to leave a plush banking career to join the Fellowship. However, being a married woman, I had to convince two families. They were initially reluctant, but gradually came around when they saw my conviction."

    Biggest perk of the job: "I didn’t imagine to get as much love from them as I get today. I am learning that every individual is different with unique personalities."

    Advice for other aspiring teachers: "In corporate language, think of it as a two year MBA where you get paid in money, friends, learning and happiness."

    3. Saket, 27, IT professional

    Teach For India

    How he started: "All that I was today, was because of the education I had. I had seen personally, how education can change things for a whole generation in a family which is why teaching became the next natural step to take."

    How did people react: "Friends were glad but also were asking tough questions about what will I gain personally and professionally. Parents were concerned, a lot at first. But over time, they were convinced."

    Biggest perk of the job: "Kids have been very kind. I walked into class one day and they decided to give me a makeover by putting clips in my hair."

    Advice for other aspiring teachers: "Close your eyes and think, 20 years from now, what would you call a successful life? Please do not make societal pressure your excuse for not doing something or, even worse, doing something."

    4. Rachana, 25, microbiology student

    Teach For India

    How she started: "While preparing for my GRE, I used to take classes for a few kids in my locality who couldn't afford tuitions, free of charge. The following year my kids did really well in boards. So I took a decision to continue teaching and try helping on a larger scale."

    How did people react: "My family and friends were very supportive. There are days when classroom doesn't go well, but they have my back."

    Biggest perk of the job: "The number of letters you get. Whenever I have a bad day, I just go through the letters made by my kids saying, 'Didi, you are the best'."

    Advice for other aspiring teachers: "If you had a mentor who changed your life, it’s time that you give back so that someone else can experience a life worth living."

    5. Somsuvra, 29, engineer

    Teach For India

    How he started: "One of the major reasons why I chose teaching over continuing my job was my firm believe in the power of change. After my project ended, I felt that I was not utilising my time well. I decided to do something that was more meaningful and fulfilling."

    How did people react: "My parents were firmly against my decision to join Teach For India and leaving a well paying job. I guess my firmness finally forced them to consent."

    Biggest perk of the job: "It is both inspiring and intimidating to have so many people look up to you."

    Advice for other aspiring teachers: "At many times it feels a thankless job and the challenges we are facing are insurmountable, but there is power in staying."

    6. Karthik, 23, chemical engineer

    Teach For India

    How he started: "It was fun to walk into a fancy office and feel all important, but I soon got bored. So now, I walk into a classroom full of 60 crazy kids who are always excited and screaming and life is not the same anymore."

    How did people react: "Peers were doubtful, family was appalled at first, then accepting later."

    Biggest perk of the job: "My kids always dance every time I get a new haircut, every time I walk into the class wearing a new set of pants or a kurta pyjama and every time that we announce a surprise games period."

    Advice for other aspiring teachers: "Just do it. If your heart knows that this is the right decision to make then don't look left or right, just go ahead and do it."

    7. Janaki Kannan, 25, advertising professional

    Teach For India

    How she started: "I worked for a year in an ad agency in San Francisco. All the while, I had an urge to give back to society and I felt this was the right time."

    How did people react: "My family and friends have been very supportive of this decision. I come from a family of teachers. My parents run a school in Congo and so it was not hard for them to accept my decision."

    Biggest perk of the job: "It is much more than teaching. It is more of a learning process. It is also about learning about oneself and developing one’s strengths while overcoming weaknesses."

    Advice for other aspiring teachers: "It begins in a small school but ends in a lifetime of experiences, skills and opportunities that you never saw coming at the beginning."

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form