Nidhi, you've been in the technical education business for kids for 10 years now? What is your greatest sense of accomplishment?
Nidhi: When I am able to make a student feel successful about them working hard and they feel they have achieved something, and then they light up with that joy, that brings me a lot of happiness. It’s almost like building a little community in some ways.
What do you think your employees will say about working with you?
Nidhi: I think they would say that I am “determined and easy to work with”. They are always happy to step in to lend an extra hand. “You just inspire me”, one of them told me when they declined my offer to get paid for the extra work. I don’t think it’s just for the money, that’s a byproduct for sure, I think they enjoy learning too. I always ask them, when they make mistakes, as to what they learned from it because I firmly believe that everyone makes mistakes. I treat them like my own kids when they are making mistakes. As long as they acknowledge and learn from it, I am happy.
Is there a person in your life or read about that you would like to interview?
Nidhi: The founder of my school, Mrs. Kumar. She's a British lady. She married an Indian guy and then she came to Delhi and they established the school. She is ninety-two years old now. Her husband passed away and after that, she took on the whole school project by herself and she grew it from fifteen kids sitting in a room to huge classrooms in a few years. One of the top 10 schools in Delhi now. I would definitely love to interview her.
Inspiration & Nidhi
Enjoy the Journey of Life
From whom have you learned to be your best self, that you are now?
Nidhi: My father has taught me “Never to give up and enjoy the journey”. He used to tell me when I was a child that “you're just looking at being happy in the future. Don't do that. Be happy right now, while you are preparing for your results.” when I would be excited about the end of school ear and test, the next month.
What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
Nidhi: I feel grateful for every person that came into my life because I believe that person has a role to teach me something. If someone is a friend then they came to empower you, if they were not nice then they came to teach you a lesson.
What message would you like to pass on to the next generation?
Nidhi: A love of learning. The way I have created my program is to enhance the kids’ passion for learning new things. I have kept it very creative and interactive. Several of my students have stuck with me from early school years to high school and some have come back as teachers. I like to empower them and give them responsibilities. If they slip, I am right behind them for support.
Choreographing Challenges Of Changing Career
Figuring out is the Journey
How would you get the message out to others that it's OK to make a career change? You can leap for it.
Nidhi: I would definitely like to say that I just followed my instinct. One doesn’t need a plan figured out, figuring out is supposed to be a journey. I took one step, two things showed up in front of me. I, definitely did run into the right people who showed me some ways, some help me, some guided me.
Monika: You felt if you made the right choice or did you ever regret leaping to make changes. Did that ever happen?
Nidhi: I think it really never happened because I didn't have a plan. So there was no real failure. I kept working through all the little challenges. I met the right people and the right words also came from them but you have to be listening to them.
Monika : What made you open to listening to that?
Nidhi: I think that's a little negative attribute of my personality, that I'm very gullible. But there are some positives to being readily gullible, which means you're always listening. I get that easily. I take inspiration from people and things around me to do the right thing and that's what I’m looking for in every aspect.
Learning to be a Different Nidhi
Listen to my intuitions and act
Talk to me about some of the biggest challenges that you've faced and how have you overcome those?
One of the challenges that we have in technology education, is that it's always evolving. So you have to be a constant learner. There is growth that has to happen with your curriculum all the time. I have a learning mindset. That is just being able to change and evolve with time and taking feedback positively that comes in your way.
Another one is how to fit in differentiated teaching. To teach different levels in the same classroom, that's how creativity kind of made its way into my curriculum because then kids get their own room to expand.
If you were to do something differently, what would you change?
I had a very strong intuition that this is going to be something that will be bigger than what I had thought of. I didn't have the confidence to start big, in terms of building a core team, who shares the same passion as I do. I should have just gone full speed and reached out to more schools and created a program that can work on its own.
Is there some skill or talent you have that people don't know about? Singing or music?
I think I just love to create, I created this parody with my sister that I never thought I had the ability to do. My mother-in-law used to do it from early on and I was always so fascinated to think about doing it, and then we did a great job. A beautiful and honest parody. Also, the birthday parties I used to host for my kids. I always go the extra mile to really create the theme.