Divya Ajinth is motivated by the opportunity she has each day to impact the lives of the students she teaches in her Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Adult Secondary Education (ASE) classes. Her role as an ABE/ASE instructor prepares those Elgin Community College students for not only to take the High School Equivalency (HSE) Exam, but also qualify for better educational and career opportunities.
“When students thank me, or remember me for helping them in achieving their goals, it makes my teaching meaningful,” said Ajinth, who started at ECC as a math tutor in 2007. “Teaching is indeed most rewarding that way.”
Her work in the classroom has not gone unrecognized, as she will be honored this year with the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Award.
“Teaching is my passion. It is highly rewarding to see my students achieve their academic and career aspirations,” she said. “That's what drives me as teacher-to better serve my students. I strive to keep myself up to date with the emerging trends and technologies in education.”
We caught up with Ajinth to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?
I was part of a committee of faculty members to analyze and align ABE and ASE math curriculum with the content standards for the National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS). As part of this project we created lessons for each math topic content area for all NRS levels. I also had the opportunity to participate in the College and Career Readiness-Standards in Action math pilot project in Illinois.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I would host an all-employee meet and greet in the morning, with breakfast, in the Spartan Auditorium.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
What's on your “bucket list?”
I will finish my second master's degree, this one in mathematics education, next year. I also want to visit Hong Kong with my family.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I like to teach myself new skills and crafts by watching YouTube videos. I learned crocheting, glass painting, and jewelry making this way.
Where was the best place you've traveled to?
Rome. It was a different experience. I felt like I was living in a different century!
What's one fact we should know about you?
I am the third subsequent generation of teachers in my family.
What's something about your job that others should know?
I value my students and their goals in life. I really enjoy teaching and learning.
What would be your “theme song?”
“Life is Wonderful” by Jason Mraz.
What was your favorite class in school?
I always liked math as a student. I still do. I believe everyone's life activities are connected to math directly or indirectly every single day.
What was your first job out of school?
I was a substitute teacher.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” - Mark Twain
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”
It is a wonderful place. ECC cares for everyone-students, faculty members, staff, and the community.