on 12 September, 2013
Baba Ranchodas Of BEE - Hitesh Mehta
He believes teaching is fun. He dances on sine waves, entertains as well as educates at the same time with great finesse. This man has excelled at the art of teaching for over 28 years. Cool temperament and passionate about teaching, he has an “electrifying” personality . He's the students' favourite Basic Electrical and Electronics (BEE) Professor - Hitesh Mehta. Excerpts from the interview by Akshita Chawla.
From an engineering student to the most popular BEE professor in the student fraternity, tell me your experience?
Passed out from Ruia, I got into VJTI (BE Electrical) with a dream of becoming a successful engineer. I got a job at EMCO Transformer Limited as a sales executive through campus placement. I worked there for three years but never enjoyed that job; couldn’t get the 'job satisfaction'. That is how I decided to shift to teaching and it turned out to be the perfect job for me. Even after 28 years nothing else gives me more happiness than enlightening the young minds.
As you mentioned you were a sales executive, then how did you dig your way into teaching?
I joined EMCO in 1985. It was the normal 9 to 5 job. So after 5, I had loads of time at my disposal, and one of my friends suggested me to start teaching at some coaching class. I thought, why not? It was good way to earn a few extra bucks. That is how it all started. I got an opening at Suresh Dani Classes, Andheri. Something I started to just past my time and earn extra money turned out to be something so revolutionary that now almost every Mumbai engineering student comes to me for BEE.
Was it is difficult to make a career in teaching? What gave your teaching career an impetus?
Oh yes! When I decided to become a full time teacher, the first obstacle that I faced was convincing my parents. It was the 80’s era where students joining tuition was not so common as it is now, so when I told my parents that I am quitting my job to become a teacher, they were very reluctant, they tried taking me out of it, but then I convinced them I like teaching and a person should always do what he likes; and eventually they agreed. In my first batch, I just had three students but then in the first month itself the number of students became 30. The exponential rise in the number of students was very motivational which made me continue with teaching.
Sir, I couldn’t help but notice you really are passionate about teaching. So what generated your interest for the same?
Basically I always liked teaching. As I was not from an affluent family, I used to take private tuition when I was in 11th. I didn't like the job after graduation. In spite of working hard, your colleagues will take the credit. Office politics was something I could not stand and over the period of time I realised teaching is a noble profession, and here I am getting a lot of respect and at the same time it is very lucrative also. And the best part about teaching is that you are always around young crowd so that helps me to catch up with new generation, new ideas and new trends.
So why didn’t you teach at colleges?
As you rightly said, I have not worked as a college lecturer but I was a visiting faculty. See, when you are in college, you have other responsibilities like paper correction, supervision and then the college politics comes into picture and as I previously said, I just can’t stand politics.
Out of all the electrical subjects, why do you just teach BEE?
One of the reasons is my BEE professor in VJTI. He was an exceptional teacher and, therefore, from the very beginning I really liked the subject. Secondly this subject is the base of Electronics. It lays the foundation for the further years of Engineering. Another reason is, this subject is common, so more number of students opt for the class. And First Year being the most crucial year, special care must be taken of these students.
Over the past years of teaching what are the common mistakes that you have encountered in BEE?
Calculation errors! Not only BEE but even in other subjects. Students make silly mistakes while writing, their answers are not up to the mark, nor are the presentations. I have seen so many students who understand the concepts but are not able to score well because of their presentation.
Which are the books that you recommend for BEE?
According to me, B.L.Thareja is the bible for for BEE. If any one wants to understand the fundamentals of this subject, this is the best book. With time, the learning pattern is changing and students are preferring Techmax and Ravish Singh.
Who is your inspiration?
Prof. Rajni Parekh and Mr. Suresh Dani. These were the people who motivated me to take up teaching. And besides them, I believe all my students are also a source of inspiration. They teach me so many things, as they say in KBC - “Seekhna bandh, toh jeetna bandh”. So, to teach the younger generation, I need to update myself with their lifestyles so that I can deliver my best to them.
In this age of cut throat competition, there are few teachers of other classes who depreciate (read “bitch about”) you, doesn’t that bother you?
Not really. The only people whose opinion matter to me are my students. Even after my students pass out they still come and meet me. That’s the love I get from my students. Hence, any third person’s opinion is irrelevant to me.
Any interaction with any of your students that you won’t forget?
Last year I had a student who had severe health problems; so she could not attend my lectures, and later when the exams drew near her parents came and requested me to teach her personally. So, once my batches got over I went to her place for a week or so, before exam. I had to start from scratch because she hardly attended any of my lectures. But I tried my best and her exam went well. Moreover, she out performed many of her classmates. So as a teacher that was a very proud moment for me. I felt a great sense of achievement.
Something all the young upcoming engineers should keep in mind?
Stay focused and work hard. Surely, success will embrace you.
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