How a Teacher Found Her Passion

One teacher parlayed a steppingstone job into a career.

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For Anokhi Saraiya, teaching was just a temporary job until she decided what she wanted to do with her life. A Teach for America corps member, she began her career at PS-8 Luis Belliard School, a public elementary school in Manhattan, teaching English-language learners. Eight years later, she says, teaching is no longer a steppingstone; it's her passion. 

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Principal tasks. During her two years with Teach for America, Saraiya earned her first master's degree in education at Bank Street College in New York. When her corps serv­ice was over, she stayed on at PS-8. By her third year, as she started to take on more outside-the-classroom responsibilities, she decided that she would someday be a principal.

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Teach the teacher. Saraiya studied for her master's of education in public school and school district leadership at Columbia's Teachers College. As part of her program, she interned at PS-8, learning firsthand the duties of a school administrator.

Lead by example. She says her graduate education in leadership helped improve her teaching skills and has encouraged her to be more collaborative. "I'm much more reflective," she says.

Ambitions. Now a sixth-grade reading teacher at KIPP STAR charter school in Manhattan, Saraiya says that she wants to one day open a charter elementary school for students from underserved communities. She says, "I hope to open a school where students are developing as explorers, where their curiosity is being widened every day and they're questioning everything."