Prof. Shifa Karim is a core faculty at Tilak College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Vashi. She teaches Mass Media students of Mumbai University. She is academically specialised in Advertising, Journalism and Mass Communication subjects. Moving ahead of the regular textbook knowledge, her style of teaching is creative and involves lot of interaction with students. She has taught students of different age group, right from 1st standard to the under-graduates. Getting to know more about her, we asked her some questions.
Since how many years you have been teaching?
12 years back! I started teaching when I myself was a student.
What inspired you to be a teacher?
For me, it was my grandfather. He was a teacher for his entire professional career – 32 years! For as long as I can remember, he would bring me into his classes to shadow him and see what it was like to truly feel passionate about the work you do every single day. And of course, he had his personal phrases – slogans you could even call them. He would repeat them all the time. So many of them are stamped into my brain, for example, “You need to know your students as well as you know your curriculum if you want them to know it as well as you need them to.”
What do you like about teaching profession?
I get to spend my career cultivating a love of learning with my students. To teach one must know, so if you enjoy learning new things or researching, you’ll love creating new lesson plans for your classroom. The flexibility and ability to make lessons fun and accessible for my students are the hallmarks of me being a resourceful teacher. I also pass along with my students. This passion and curiosity, and we never know what insights and perspectives teaching provide in return.
Can you tell us about any special moment that makes you proud calling yourself a teacher?
There are plenty, and I am unable to recall all of them back. But mostly it’s always when my students scored merit in my subjects. And work excel under my guidance, be it a creative aspect or academic.
How are you dealing with online teaching?
It was difficult in the beginning as it was the first time when all faculties like us started accessing digital portals. Majority of us were very new to this course of subject, we also found at times difficulty in controlling and surveillance over students end. But yes, we got use to it. And many of our creative abilities have come forward. We advanced our way of delivering lectures in more profound way, opting virtual sessions made us push our limitations away. We have developed and enhanced are method of teaching.
According to you what qualities should a good teacher have?
There are many but I would list few which are core essential like for instance, Patience with students throughout in their struggles, Empathy which is the utmost important as children be it a teenager or youth turning adults have feelings and they need constant validation. So, in order to understand them more it’s important for a teacher to be empathize with students.
And lastly, Self-improvement, especially when the world is on fast phase it become essential for teacher. Be it any level, we need to have willingness to engage with new aid, or adapting new teaching methodologies.
What are your career expectations/ aspirations for future?
As of now I would like to upgrade my career with a doctorate degree. I want to create a Digital space which will be based on contemporary and engaging forum, where I can enhance students’ knowledge, skills and capabilities by constantly adapting new methodology of teaching.
What is your philosophy of life?
Everyone in the regular life contributes as a student, teacher, and thinker. I learn from students as much as they learn from me. One way I emphasize this philosophy in my classes is to incorporate regular feedback from students. Students have been so insightful, providing useful information for me on what is working in class, and what I can improve upon. I believe we never stop learning, and I want my students to know we can learn from each other.
What message would you like to give to your fellow teachers?
Understand your role as a teacher in students’ life. Your influences last for a lifetime use it wisely.
SR Dalvi (I) Foundation has enlisted Prof. Shifa Karim as the Star Teacher in its Feature Teacher Series. Just like how she got inspired from her grandfather, we are sure, many of her students would be getting inspired by her as well. Because, we learn what we see!