1. Tell us a little more about what you do. What is a day at work – teaching foreigners Hindi – like?
I teach Hindi to foreigners within India and abroad. Yes, that’s an actual job and that’s what I do. My usual day looks like this:
10AM: *Someone*, Brazil; 11:30AM: *Someone*, USA; 1PM: *Someone*, Spain; 2:30PM: *Someone*, Australia.. and so on and so forth. I think you get the drift. My usual day involves meeting people from across the globe and teaching them Hindi. I have a teaching kit with me that I carry all around, like a doctor has a first aid kit. I have tools, props, gold stars, stickers, puzzles and crosswords in Hindi that I have self-prepared tohelp my students learn better. Of course there is Homework given corresponding to what we learn in class. If you earn 10 gold stars on your submissions in a month; you get to have a free beer!
2. How did you come about doing what you do? Where did you complete your education from and do you think it helped you in some way to choose this career path?
I did not set out to become a “Hindi Teacher”; it became me. I wanted to do something which would give me international exposure with value for my time and flexibility. I messaged an international exchange student in Delhi University on a social networking website offering help in Hindi. He went on to become my first student and I’ve never looked back since. I was 20 back then. In 2012, when I moved to Mumbai to pursue my studies further; I did not want to be an imposition of any kind to my parents to pay for decisions I make for my life. I got here, I had to sustain, and hence I had to teach.
I am expecting my final year results from Sophia College quite soon actually. Did going to College help me in any way to choose this? Probably not. Did it re-affirm that choosing this path is the right decision? Yes. If I am being honest, when in College, I was a student myself doing what I was expected to do. Submitting assignments, attending lectures, following the norms etc. Since the nature of what I have chosen to do is so unconventional and eccentric, I could not have possibly received constructive mentorship or ideas for my business any which ways, so I guess I never really thought about it from this perspective.
3. How many people have you reached out to(you said 100+), and helped them overcome their language barrier as far as Hindi goes? Who has been your favorite student so far? Why?
Yes, I have taught Hindi to more than a hundred people so far. I have no favourites. Anyone keen, interested and motivated to learn Hindi is my favourite. A beautiful by-product of what I do is that I get to have opportunities to build friendships with my students. I am still in touch with some of my ex-students who have gone back to where they were from. It is like having extended family all across the globe.
4. What are the 3 things you love about your job? Do you see yourself in the same line of work 5 years from now?
1) International Exposure: Not many jobs provide such flared level of multi-national experiences.
2) Value for my time: I charge by the hour. Every minute of my work counts.
3) No boss to report to: I work for myself and run a Linguistic Services business. I have friends who work in a typical corporate hierarchy and have (usually) a nasty boss to report to. I am quite happy to be away from spite of this kind. I am fortunate and privileged to call my own shots when I want to.
Yes, I see myself teaching Hindi in 2020 as well. Probably a Hindi Language School too? Lets see! *Fingers crossed*
5. You’ve aso been a speaker at a TEDx event? Where was this and how was the experience like?
Yes, I was invited as a speaker for TEDxNSIT which occurred on 12th April’2015 in Delhi. Every other speaker had a fancy degree or advantage of experience, I was the only young speaker with no extravagant certificates or years of experience to credit – but I did have one thing – my original niche and the forte I possess which is self-driven and self-acquired. Overall, it was a fantastic experience! The theme of the event was “Socially Inclusive Change”; where I talked about “Language serving as a social inclusion tool”.
6. What is Pallavi Singh like besides being a foreign language teacher? What do you spend your time doing, when you are not teaching?
I believe I am a precocious personality who has made her own share of mistakes in life and learnt from them. When I am not teaching or marking papers, I am watching sitcoms by streaming them online or enjoying quiet hours with a glass of wine. I over think circumstances and under expect from life and people. I also enjoy food a lot. Always up for trying a new place on wheels or a Michelin starred.
I also think I like to put myself in challenging situations and testing my limits; it is thrilling if you win but equally discouraging if you lose. You cannot win if you don’t play!
7. Have you ever done an internship during your college, or after? We’d love to hear about it!
I’ve been very fortunate to have gotten opportunities internationally and as well as nationally. I have done more than ten internships so far. I have received opportunities from UK, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Canada and USA. All of them have been extremely versatile and multifaceted. While I worked in Azerbaijan with refugees; I was supposed to attend business meetings at a bank in London.
Nationally, within India; my work ranges from being involved in a European Union’s funded project concerning labour rights in Delhi to working with a unique school in Goa established for children of the transient. I have always been open to new and different experiences of life and have been never been afraid to try the innovative and off beaten.
8. Anything you’d like to tell our readers who’d want to pursue something like you did?
You might one day want to do something so obscure that even people close to you would not understand or appreciate it. Do it anyway. Only you would apprehend whys and hows of it; no one else would even try. Go for it nevertheless. Keep going and the path would self-disclose on its own, and when it does, revel in it!
You can connect with Pallavi on her Facebook page.
You should also check out:
“Hire the right people – those who use both left and right side of their brains.” – Arpita Khadria, Founder, Barefoot Consultancy.
“There is no better time than now, to do what you enjoy doing the most.” — Snigdha Manchanda,Tea Sommelier and Founder, Tea Trunk.
“Akosha is a place where people are given the freedom to thrive and do the best they can” – Archit Chandra, Program Manager