People kept telling Dharini Adhvaryu not to become a teacher.
A promising biology major at a highly competitive private college, she was always intent on studying science — even attending a DNA summer camp while in high school on Long Island. She always thought she’d become a researcher in botany, burying her head in her studies in the corner of a laboratory.
But her dream changed after she started working as a teaching assistant in the college’s freshman bio lab and found it incredibly rewarding.
“I said to myself, ‘Hey, the most satisfying day I have had all year was not when my experiment worked, but when theirs did.”
When she shared her plans with advisers, she was stunned by their reaction. “They told me I had too much potential to go into teaching ... That I could do so much more with what I knew.”
She found that advice really sad and frustrating.
“If we know so much and we’re good at what we do, why shouldn’t we share that?” she said. “Why shouldn’t we be inspiring the next generation and the next one after that to love learning and perhaps be scientists?”
It was then she realized why teaching was her calling: “I could be one scientist — or I could be a teacher and I could raise hundreds.”
After completing her master’s degree in teaching at Union Graduate College and working part-time as a science teacher at Schenectady High School, Adhvaryu is excited to start her first full-time teaching job this fall at Lansingburgh High School.
“I just love the thrill of getting them to get it,” Adhvaryu said. She is not alone in expressing great hope and optimism for the teaching profession.
“In my culture, teachers are highly respected,” Adhvaryu said. “My parents were so proud for me to become a teacher. If we as a society appreciate the work that teachers do, it will make the profession more rewarding and encourage more people to become teachers. It will make our impact even greater.”
In response to NYSUT United’s story in June about the state’s looming teacher shortage, educators told us why they entered the profession, why they still love teaching and what they would say to encourage new and future teachers.