Agarwal reflects on her first month as a viking
As Pre-Calculus teacher Anshul Agarwal reaches her one month milestone in teaching at Lynbrook, she reflects on her experience so far and goals for the school year. Before teaching, Agarwal was a renowned researcher at Stanford, where she specialized in Carbon Storage Research and focused on finding ways to reduce the effect of greenhouse gases on the environment. She transitioned to teaching when she taught her own undergraduate class on Carbon Studies, and she has not looked back since.
“I have always been very passionate about teaching, and I really want the students to enjoy the learning process,” Agarwal said. “I journeyed into teaching primarily because I want to help students.”
During her tenure at Stanford, Agarwal realized the prevalence of competition in academics. While Agarwal believes that grades are necessary, she places more importance on a student’s passion for the subject. Agarwal’s goal is for all of her students to understand the material fully, and she believes that learning comes from the student’s love for the subject.
“One should not be completely focused on grades,” Agarwal said. “Rather, they should be focused on understanding and learning [the subject]. Once you enjoy learning, your grades will automatically improve.”
Although Agarwal sees aspects of Stanford’s competitive culture at Lynbrook, she was still taken aback by the high stress level of Lynbrook students. Because of this, she ensures that her classroom is a safe space. Agarwal aims to be approachable for all students; she believes if students have enough resources and support from their teachers, they will succeed.
“One of my goals as a teacher is to connect with students,” Agarwal said. “I want them to know that I care for them and that I’m here to help them.”
Though Agarwal has ambitious plans, this is only her first year teaching at a high school, and she admits that getting accustomed to high school students has been challenging. Through her first few weeks at Lynbrook, Agarwal has found that high school students need more detailed instruction than undergraduate students.
“High school students like to be a little more nurtured,” Agarwal said. “They like reminders to do things a certain way, such as telling them what to write and how to say things.”
Agarwal is also working on ways to include more hands-on activities in her lectures. Additionally, her classes have become more group-focused.
Despite facing some initial challenges during her first month at Lynbrook, Agarwal continues to push herself to innovate in the classroom. She is already fulfilling her goal of helping students to the best of her ability.