When I was brain storming on which career to choose being in Junior college, I decided to take up Actuarial Science. There were 2 common reasons for this, firstly my love for numbers and secondly it was among highest paying JOB in most of countries. Yes, I did join actuaries initially to work in a corporate sector and take away big fat cheques every month. Things changed when I actually entered the profession.
In those days, I was looking for some more information over internet but nothing substantial was available. I walked in to official institute’s office in Mumbai but the guy sitting at reception desk was less helpful and had only one answer to every question “Pls visit our website, all information is available there”. This was way back in 2011. The website was way less informative that time. I realised that there is greater need of this information being available on internet. I started finding people of similar interest on social network and got some great information from them. I created a Facebook group and added them all to be able to socialise better. Today there are more than 6200 members benefiting from the group.
Link to the group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/actuary.aspirants/
Eventually when I started preparing the course, being an average student, I struggled a lot to understand the concepts of my first paper CT1. I was hardly prepared and I couldn’t make it in exam. Then I decided to reappear for CT1 along with CT3 and CT7. I joined one coaching institute in Mumbai for CT3 tuitions. I paid INR 12500 in 2011 for one subject. This was huge amount for me but at the end I was happy as it did help me, to some extent, to pass CT3 in first attempt. I cleared CT3 and CT7 in this diet but failed CT1 again. I was least bothered about CT1 and I was literally dancing with joy on clearing other 2 actuarial exam. My journey had just started and now I was sure I will complete my fellowship and will be getting a very high paying job.
When I started for next exam, I struggled again. I couldn’t afford to join coaching for another paper and it was getting difficult. I thought institute would help but there was no support from them too. With no option left, I had to join coaching again for CT5 by paying INR 15000. I could clear this again in 1st attempt but the cost was pinching.
I had started realising there is a huge dearth of help required to aspiring actuaries. Almost all other profession students get the required help quite easily but things are not same here. I was reluctant to become a teacher myself but I was determined to do something for the profession by helping students like me who need help. I started counselling many students via social networks in similar way as some other seniors genuinely helped me.
Around this time some of the teachers of old coaching classes of Mumbai had left this classes and started their own coaching classes. I got a message from one of the teacher asking me if I wished to join. I needed help again and fees was less in this new coaching classes so I joined. I was in my third year of college by this time in 2014 and had already cleared 4 papers. I was witnessing huge business as no. of students were ever increasing and coaching was hardly available. I would rather say “money making business” happening. I was very anxious to help aspiring actuaries in whatever way possible without earning money but there was hardly any way I could help them other than social network.
I decided one day to approach one of the teacher of this new coaching classes for some teaching work (at this time I was less interested in earning money out of it), I just wanted to give my profession back something. Coincidentally when I was supposed to approach, they themselves approached me to teach. They asked me to give a demo lecture to them next day and then I was hired as assistant faculty for CT1 (I was literally being paid Rs 350 per student and I was happy with this too). I was just giving things a try and I seriously was not able to understand where I am heading towards.
Teaching was never my thing, In fact I always had such a huge stage fear that I literally shivered every time I was asked to give a presentation in front of class in my school or college. Something unconventional happed. I could pull of my task well as per feedback received and I literally fell in love with the work. Stage fear and all the other problems disappeared automatically.
I fell in love with teaching profession in these 3 months. Helping other achieve their dreams is a noble job and a true teacher will always see his own success in success of his students.
But, I had to sadly resign from my work as it was painful to see my seniors doing business out of dreams of other aspirants. A teacher can only be a teacher. He/She should not be a business person. Money automatically flows in when you start teaching just to teach. This will never be affected by recession, competition etc. Coaching classes who do business in teaching will always cry hard when competition in this “Business” increases. If teacher will teach only to teach, he will be hardly affected by competition as students know well whom to go for tuition even though there are choices available.
After leaving this classes I started tutoring on my own. I again enjoyed teaching for next 6 months. I dint make money out of it, I just managed to pay my rent of classroom. Now I was a graduate and started looking for a job, I was not yet sure of being a teacher but there was somewhere in my mind a question popping up again and again, why not become a teacher if you love it? But I thought maybe I will love corporate office too.
I found one actuarial job within a week of searching. I thought this was end of my teaching and I will just always cherish this phase of my life that I really enjoyed. But things went other way. I was going mad sitting in office in front of my laptop all the day and started missing my classrooms, I took a decision which dint really go down well with my parents and peers. The decision was to QUIT THE JOB and PURSUE TEACHING as a profession. Well-wisher thought I am making a great fool of myself. Some were craving for a fresher job and I was dying to quit the one I already had. But I was determined. I know I am doing unusual but I was sure, If I help aspiring actuaries in genuine way, I will definitely earn my bread and butter well plus I will do something I really enjoy.
I did what I thought of doing without listening to others.I am just 24 right now. I started my own coaching classes in 2014 itself again. Actuarial blogs and everything happened in the meantime to be able to help well. Intention was and is still only to help students pursue their dream and it really makes me happy. I really get energised after giving good lectures. I enjoy company of so many young students who have got similar dreams. I see myself in them and help them as if I am helping myself. The Journey will go on for long time…
I hope institute will also recognise some genuine teacher’s efforts into actuarial academics in India and someday work cordially to make things better for students…
I haven’t named any coaching classes in which I used to work or learn. I do not wish to offend anyone. Everyone has its own ideology to follow. Do contact me incase any offence is being made to anyone unintentionally.