From early 1987 to late 1988, Dibyendu Mukherjee visited an orphanage in Kolkata, India, once a week. Teaching math to 9th graders taught him a lot about how to work with kids and why creating a supportive environment for them is so important. The Chief Innovation Officer of Pap / VMLY&R talks more about how he approached the situation and why he refers to it as the ‘most gratifying experience ever.’
Meeting Them Where They Are
Mukherjee may have only met with kids for an hour a week, but he made many inroads in the two years he worked at the orphanage. This volunteer experience was certainly made better by how bright the kids were. Not only were they intelligent, but they came to class ready to learn. Of course, that didn’t mean every day was smooth sailing.
He says that the art of teaching starts with understanding how the kids think. A big part of his success came from his consistency: showing up week after week, prepared to handle whatever happened during the class. Once the kids realized that there was someone looking out for them, it was easy to work through each new learning plan.
Teachers come in all shapes and sizes today, from professors to substitutes to tutors to everyday relatives. If the pandemic taught us anything, it was how important their presence is in shaping the future leaders of tomorrow. The best teachers preach the value of knowledge and practice it too.
Dibyendu Mukherjee, a Dallas local, understands the value of educators in our world. He has an ABD in Structural Engineering and a Masters in civil engineering. He’s attended several additional programs, including courses on digital business strategy and how leaders can use artificial intelligence to their team’s benefit. All his degrees are a testament to his desire to learn, which he instills in the kids he teaches. To take that belief a step further, he also established a scholarship in his name at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Finding a place to volunteer is more than just doing a quick Google search. It’s why more people are likely to donate to causes that they care about rather than take the time to step into action. For Mukherjee’s part, he knows that getting involved isn’t always possible for some, particularly if they have never-ending professional and familial demands.
However, he encourages everyone to think about their talents and where they can step in to help. Not everyone can (or will want) to master the art of teaching, and there’s nothing wrong with this. What’s important is that volunteering is always a two-way street, and figuring out where and how to give back can be the most rewarding project you will ever take on. It certainly was for Dibyendu Mukherjee of Dallas.