An interview with IITian turned JEE Guru

Ladheedha : Hello everyone, I have a special guest with me today for an interview. He is Mr. Mohammed Iqbal, a popular math teacher in Kerala and in fact he is the No.1 in math teacher in Kerala as recognized by CENTA and Reliance Foundation. Welcome to this interview sir !

Iqbal : Thank you for having me here. It’s a great pleasure.

Ladheedha : Thank you. Can you tell us all about yourself more for our audience. They are eager to listen to you.

Iqbal : Yeah, sure. As you mentioned in the beginning, I am basically a math teacher, but I train students exclusively for competitive and entrance exams like IIT JEE, KVPY, Math Olympiad etc. I have been working in this field for the past 8 years.

Ladheedha : Could you tell us more about your journey so far ?

Iqbal : I graduated from IIT Madras with a B Tech and M Tech in electrical engineering in 2012. I then joined a Japanese MNC after getting campus placement. I quit that job after a few months to take up a full teaching job.

Ladheedha : Wow, we are curious to know why you quit your job ?

Iqbal : Well, of course when you graduate from an IIT and join a big company, you are very excited and want to do some groundbreaking work. Only when I joined the company did I realize that I was just a freshie in a big company. I was assigned small small tasks in the beginning which I found were insignificant. I wanted to do something more significant and something which counted, so I decided to quit the job. Also, I was exhausted from being away from home for more than 5 years. I also wanted to try my long hidden passion of teaching mathematics.

Ladheedha : That sounds cool. So you never faced any objections from people, especially parents ?

Iqbal : In fact, I faced a lot of criticism. I was giving up a hard earned job in an MNC for a tutoring job. Also I never had any previous teaching experience and I still looked at a kid right out of school. So people really thought I was making a stupid decision. But, luckily my parents understood me and stood by my side. They welcomed me home and were happy with my decision.

Ladheedha : So, did you like your new job ?

Iqbal : After quitting the MNC job I joined a JEE coaching centre in in my hometown in Thrissur. When I was a kid I really loved studying and doing math. As a kid, all I wanted to do when I grew up was to sit in a corner and do math. I would say that I am currently living my dream and getting paid for what I love.

Ladheedha : What about the challenges ?

Iqbal : Yes, there are challenges as well. Especially when I realized that the institution I joined was not taking any proactive measures to bring updates and changes in the coaching system as the preferences and priorities of the current generation of students have changed. I tried giving my whole hearted support and suggestion, but when things did not improve up to my level of expectation, I quit the job and started a new coaching centre with my friends. So I currently work at this institute.

Ladheedha : What are your other ventures ?

Iqbal : Few years into teaching, I realized many things the hard way. Things are not as easy as I thought it was. First of all, the majority of the students by the time they came to my coaching centre after completing class 10, did not have sufficient motivation to study science and mathematics. I couldn’t correlate them with my own childhood which was filled with enthusiasm to learn math and science. Quite depressingly I also realized that they have missed a lot of fundamentals in science and maths by the time they complete class 10 and enter into the competitive world they face in class 11 and 12.

So a few months back, me and some of my like-minded friends started on a journey, which was aimed at transforming how STEM subjects were delivered to school children with the help of hands on activities and experiential learning.

I also spend time on creating FREE content on youtube in the form of video lectures.

Ladheedha : Thank you sir for joing with us today and sharing your amazing journey so far. We wish you good luck in all your future endeavors.

Iqbal : Yep, thanks a lot

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