Indian-American wins Texas Teacher of Year Award
Indian-American Pushpa Maheshri, a second language educator, has won the Texas ESL Teacher of the Year award for 2004 in the United States.
As a state winner of the ESL (English as Second Language) teacher of the year award, she advanced as a nominee to the National Association for Bilingual Education competition.
"Staying focused and working hard towards your goal always gets one noticed sooner or later," said beaming Maheshri.
Maheshri, being an immigrant, with initial language deficiencies, enjoys helping students face the challenges she has conquered and reminds them that the ESL classroom is just a bridge to their acquisition of English, not the destination.
"It doesn't matter how you were educated or how many degrees you earned, what matters is how you relate and connect with your students. I want the students to overcome second language barriers and empower them to achieve their best," she said.
Winning this honour was not an easy ride for Pushpa, who came to US 31 years back, from a small village of Akola in Maharashtra.
She started teaching 15 years ago, initially as a volunteer as she was not a certified teacher. The voluntary work with education system got her involved and interested in teaching, but getting certified was a struggle because of the "way the certification system works here," she said.
She had a difficult time getting into college because her transcript looked different, despite a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction from India.