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I get to befriend people of different countries and cultures! | India Team Spotlight: Arpit T

By Divija D | Monday, August 22, 2022

Tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Arpit. I’m currently in 12th grade studying the CBSE curriculum in India. I’m enthusiastic about business, physics, table tennis, and gaming. I wish to be a teacher and start my own school someday.

Most of your sessions are in physics and math. What got you interested in these subjects?

My interest in physics started in 4th grade when my brother told me that if you go faster than the speed of light, you could actually travel back in time. I didn’t understand much of it, but my eyes lit up at the thought of being able to travel back in time. I found it so interesting that I searched it on YouTube where I came across Nolan’s movies Interstellar and Inception. These movies motivated me even more to pursue physics. In 9th grade I started watching videos related to mechanics and thermodynamics on YouTube. I understood some things, but mostly they went over my head. With regards to math, I was really bad at it up until 9th grade. I usually bunked my math class at school until 8th grade. It went on like that till I failed my 8th grade final exams. That was a wakeup call. I got a tutor from my local area, Mr. Sunny. For the first time, I was able to understand math. It was all because of Mr. Sunny’s guidance. Now, in grade 12th, I love math, and enjoy tutoring others as well.

How did you come across Schoolhouse, and why did you decide to join it?

I have been using Khan Academy for a long time. The Khan Academy India Team uploaded a video about Schoolhouse which I found very interesting. I went to the website and signed up but later forgot about it. After some time, I heard the name somewhere and logged back in. I attended my first session (on trigonometry) and loved it! The concept of Schoolhouse had me hooked and I have been using it ever since!

Tell me about your best session.

My best session was very recently. I was hosting a series on 11th grade prerequisites. My learners communicated very well with me and that made the session worth it. I presented them with a tough question on the topic and asked them to collaborate to solve it. If they gave me the correct answer, I would do 10 push-ups (I did end up having to do the push-ups). The session was supposed to be from 9 PM to 10 PM but we all talked till 11:30 PM.

What part about volunteering at Schoolhouse is the most exciting to you?

The best and most exciting part of me volunteering at Schoolhouse is that I get to befriend people of different countries and cultures. This helps me understand a lot of different aspects of this world. Another amazing thing is the supportive community here at Schoolhouse! I was once in a session on calculus and the tutor had football jerseys in the background. I asked if he watched football and he said he loved it so I started talking about my favourite team. When I finished, he told me he was talking about American football, haha.

What are some of the challenges you have faced and how do you deal with them?

The biggest challenge I face as a tutor is when a learner does not actively participate in a session. I tell my learners it’s completely alright if they would like to keep themselves muted and have their video off. However, I do ask them to talk to me through the chat or the inbuilt zoom emojis. I want to encourage everyone in my session to ask me questions because that helps me understand how much the learner is able to comprehend and where I need to focus more. My main goal is to always get all the learners to actively participate. This is also the reason why I don’t put a lot of spots in my session (usually between 10-20).

You’ve clearly had a very positive impact on your learners. Have you learnt anything from your learners and the Schoolhouse community?

The most important lesson I have learnt from hosting sessions is patience. I used to be impatient and if anyone asked me a question, rather than explaining it to them, I would just solve it. I have realised that it is way more effective if you help learners walkthrough the problem themselves.

What do you like to do to unwind after a long day?

After a long hectic day, I like to take a bath or just sit on the swing and look at the night sky with some coke. I prefer to turn off all the electronics as well!

Where do you hope Schoolhouse will be within the next year?

The concept of Schoolhouse is very innovative. The idea of peer-to-peer tutoring has always been in schools and Schoolhouse gives this idea an actual platform. I believe Schoolhouse has the potential to be as big and famous as Khan Academy itself or maybe more since the volunteer community is so hardworking. I have no doubts that Schoolhouse is going to reach many milestones.

Do you have any advice for the tutors on Schoolhouse?

My advice to the tutors on Schoolhouse would be to never give up. If no one shows up to your session, it is okay! Just keep trying and improving on all of your sessions with fun problems and quizzes!

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