Anjum Budhwani - living her dream | Aga Khan Academies

Anjum Budhwani - living her dream

Anjum Budhwani, facilitator for grade 3K, has been at the Academy Junior School for seven years now and she has brought the same energy into her teaching since her first day. “Every day is rewarding for me as it was my dream to be here and I enjoy coming to the Academy,” she says.

Anjum has been teaching since the time she was an undergraduate student. She began as a volunteer at her community Religious Education Centre as part of the Institute for Ismaili studies’ Ta’lim programme, a course designed to introduce children to the faith, ethics, history and cultures of Muslim peoples and of the Ismaili community in particular. “Compassion builds a strong relationship between teacher and student,” she says. “If a teacher is caring and loving the student feels safe with her, and learning will happen successfully in turn.”

Anjum received her first bachelor’s degree in commerce from Hyderabad’s Osmania University, and went on to collect another bachelor’s in education followed by a master’s degree when she decided to become a teacher. Her aspiration was to join the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad, and she realized this dream in 2012. “I feel elated when I hear people saying ‘She works at the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad.' ” It was also her mother’s dream to see her daughter become a teacher.

Though she says every day at the Academy is special, some days have been more special than others. “I cherish the day when His Highness the Aga Khan was here on 15th April 2015,” beams Anjum, remembering some his words to our teachers. “He mentioned that there will be difficult times while you are teaching and learning and you will have failures during your journey of teaching. But remember the result and keep the goal in your mind that we are working towards creating future leaders and that it’s not going to be easy.” These words are a part of what inspire Anjum to teach at the Academy and to better herself as a facilitator to young students.

One of her favourite things about teaching at the AKA Hyderabad is discussing teaching practices with her colleagues. Anjum has imbibed the philosophy of being a lifelong learner; learning from her colleagues, she explains, has been key to her growth as a teacher. “We have regular and ongoing professional development, which has provided me with a lot of opportunities to improve myself,” shares Anjum. “Sharing best practices, professional development reading, action research and other platforms where we get to learn from each other gives us the chance to reflect on our learning and teaching process.”

These collaborative efforts have helped Anjum grow into the ideal PYP teacher who believes in giving her students voice, choice and ownership in their school work. “I design assessments and learning engagements with students in order to provide them with ownership and accountability in their learning.” Miss Anjum’s classroom is decorated with student input, with students also influencing their seating arrangement. In her class you will see the Innovation Corner, where students create new things from recycled material. Students of 3K have a duty list, where students are given charge of classroom resources like books and stationery. Giving students responsibility and ownership of their space this way helps allows them an early understanding of stewardship.

“She endeavors to exemplify stewardship through her actions,” says Academy Junior School Principal, Sreelatha Kumar. “Equanimity and her unquestionable commitment are her best qualities." Sreelatha adds that it is remarkable how Anjum deals with adults and children with the same grace and evenness.

It is very common that parents visiting the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad Junior School, upon seeing students in the sand pit or in the art room, wish that they could have done their primary education here. Should they peep into Miss Anjum’s grade 3 classroom, they will understand that it is teachers like her whom they missed having in school, because they are the ones who help create the idyllic aura of a primary school. 

Written by Ajay Sundaram