Vinusha Autar

Hometown: Queens, New York City

Program: MEd, Integrated Language Arts

Degrees: Bachelor’s of Architecture, The City College of New York

Section Items

"This program has greatly expanded my frame of reference of what teaching and learning can look like in the classroom by giving me concrete, research-based methods for progressive teaching."

What interested you about teaching as you were pursuing architecture?

Architecture is a fascinating field, but I was never so happy as when I was helping my classmates write essays, or tutoring high school students on my down time. Ultimately, though I have many interests, helping other people learn is my passion. During my last year of architecture school, I focused my research on school design and began to learn about how progressive teaching philosophies can positively impact the design of schools. I realized that I was having a lot more fun learning about pedagogy than building models and drawing floor plans.

Talk about the reputation of Ohio State’s teacher preparation programs.

To be honest, I wasn’t fully aware that Ohio State’s MEd program was highly ranked before I applied, but I’m happy to hear it! I knew I wanted to go to Ohio State because I had taken several non-degree classes here and worked on campus as a writing consultant. Through those experiences I realized that students and instructors here care deeply about learning and success. Since matriculating as a graduate student, I’ve been pleased to find that my impressions are absolutely accurate.

How has this program changed your perceptions about education?

This program has greatly expanded my frame of reference of what teaching and learning can look like in the classroom by giving me concrete, research-based methods for progressive teaching. We learn to root our teaching practices in a deep belief that quality education for our children is a human right and a social justice issue.

How would you describe your classmates?

My classmates range from recent grads to career-changers, and I think all of us bring interesting perspectives to our work based on our different life experiences. The cohort is also filled with some of the most energetic, fun people I’ve ever met. They are hilarious, smart, and supportive, and they care deeply about education. In only a few months, I feel like I’ve made friends I’ll have for a long time.

What has impressed you most about your professors?

Without exception, my instructors have all been highly educated, experienced and compassionate people. They are communicative and responsive--I feel comfortable coming to them with concerns or just to chat. Most importantly to me, they model the kind of teaching that they advocate — we learn by doing.

How will you make a difference as an educator?

It’s important to help students develop new skills, but I also hope to be the kind of educator that helps students realize and enrich the assets they already have. I don’t think school should ever be a place where a child feels defeated or forgotten, though unfortunately that’s a reality for many of our nation’s children.

Why should students come to EHE to train as a teacher?

At EHE, preservice teachers will be trained by top educators and researchers. In addition, the structure of the program allows candidates to observe in the field and gradually take over responsibilities from their cooperating teachers. This structure allows preservice teachers to acclimate to their school and become part of the school community before teaching. The design of the program, I think, comes out of an understanding that teaching is an immersive practice; we have to know our students, where they come from, and how they learn so that we can teach them well.

What advice would you give to an incoming student?

Have an open mind; be willing to try new things; and take risks. Often that can be really difficult, but it’s also how we grow as people and educators.