Joe Martin, says,
“What most people don’t know is that most Special Education teachers are really angels disguised as extraordinary humans.”
We’ve all appreciated with teary eyes the beautiful story of Taare Zameen Par. But, in our today’s #FridayFeature we’re proud to present the living embodiment of Aamir’s character in TMZ through one of our #WonderWomen.
Meet, Special Needs Educator and Professional Odissi Classical Dancer Snigdha Shikha Pattajoshi. How did she combine a noble profession with a creative one? Let’s find out in her own words.
“Dancing was given to me by my mother who wanted me to live her own dream of being a dancer. As to how I got into special education, it happened while I was exploring the field of social service.
As and when I understood what it entails, I developed a keen interest for it and enjoyed each moment as it came by. But I soon realized this was not going to be possible and that I wouldn’t be able to give it my best, without some qualification.
Hence, I decided to learn the keener aspects of the field by taking on two Master’s degrees. These, coupled with my initial 5 years of work experience, instilled in me, the confidence I needed to go ahead. Of course, the appreciation and confidence that others started to show was both surprising and satisfying and added to my confidence as well. I realized when I started working, that I enjoyed teaching children, irrespective of them having additional needs. Thus I look forward to working in an inclusive environment, such as the Vasant Valley School where I’m currently working.
The challenges I faced as a professional dancer came to the forefront when I was away from India while doing my Masters in Special Education. I realized how important the physical presence and teaching of a Guru can be. Although I continued to perform while I was in UK, the absence of learning from my Guru, set in some level of lethargy. This struggle came into sharp focus and doubled when I returned to India. I had to put in extra effort to build my stamina and grace to a certain level of perfection to become as good as I could be and more importantly, as good as my Guru expected me to be.
Apart from external factors such as my family and friends, alongside some unexpected words of appreciation from random strangers at times, my inner resolve and love for my professions have been firm motivating factors.
Achieving my second Masters from outside and completing ten years as a special needs educator both full time and as a freelancer have been the biggest and proudest highlights in my teaching career. In the dancing career, performing over three times in a single year with both with my Guru ji and with other professional groups have been constant opportunities of experiencing dynamic opportunities to grow.
Being able to acquire two Masters from universities in London and performing with my Guru have been very inspiring and motivating for me.
The future for now consists of a short-term goal in the dancing career, where I aim to do another solo show by the end of this year (2019); whereas in the education career, the plan is a little long term where I intend to do a PhD in Special Needs.
One of my greatest learnings so far in life has been that only sincerity and humility will keep you on the path of success. No matter what your achievements, never let them overpower your ego. A balanced approach towards life will surely pave the way ahead.”
You can follow Snigdha’s dancing and teaching journey through the links below: