Once on this mountain: Ms. Chhikara

As we begin our new academic year, we welcome many new staff members. The Woodstocker caught up with some of them to chronicle the first chapter of their adventures.


Where are you coming from? 

I am from Delhi. I was previously teaching in The British School, New Delhi, for the past seven years. 


What subject do you teach?

I teach IB Psychology, both HL and SL. At Woodstock, I’m also teaching an AP Psychology class. 


What’s different about Woodstock from the last place you worked at? 

Woodstock is a residential first of all and my last school was day school and the way we approach students here seems very different because we see them more often than [teachers] used to in our last school. So, I noticed there is a difference in the kind of relationship we maintain with students, which are on campus and how it’s kind of different and a little more distant when we are in a day boarding school. So that’s a big difference I noticed and I think I’m learning to be more comfortable with that. 


Why did you decide to come to Woodstock? 

Woodstock is a very old institution and a very reputed institution. I wanted to see what kind of education, principles, and belief systems this school is based on. And as a Delhi person, the hills and the clean air, especially coming from Delhi where there is a lot of pollution where normally we had days classified as red, green, yellow, and orange depending on the level of pollution and an advisory in terms of what kinds of activity you should and should not be doing. So that got me thinking that I should think about something more healthier as an option especially because I have a growing daughter which was also another important factor. 


What are your goals for this academic year? 

My goal for this academic year is I am teaching an AP final year class and my goal is to make sure that we have good results at the end of the year so I am doing everything I can to ensure that there is a high probability of getting good results. For the IB classes, I am more interested in making them a little bit more hands-on because psychology is a new subject for a number of students and it becomes after a few initial classes that there are too many concepts, too many new words, theories which are all part of the coursework but there is always a struggle of having students experience something which you could extract a number of ideas and concepts to link with. Which is something I feel is possible with IB but not so much with the AP courses given the timelines we are working with.


Are there any fun facts about you that you’d like to share? 

I’m still practicing juggling because I want to improve that, that’s my personal goal. Another fun fact about me is that I used to be a motorcycle buff. I used to drive a motorcycle when I was in college that was the most fun part of college. It was quite unusual in those days to see and giving lift to boys. Right now it’s more about becoming a better educator, that’s what I am working on professionally.  


Photo by Victor Pashuk 

Shoaib Ansari is a staff reporter

Edited by Aarti Malhotra  

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