Eckovation met Prof. J P Subrahmanyam, a professor at IIT Delhi who has spent/dedicated the past 35 years of the life to teaching.
Prof. J P Subrahmanyam usually teaches the course on IC engines and through it, he has inspired many students to appreciate the intricacies of Mechanical engineering. He continues to contribute immensely in developing sharper minds through his teaching. Akshat Goel spoke to him recently and we bring to you this exclusive conversation/interview, which is as valuable for other professors as it is for the students.
On being told, he would be speaking to an audience which consisted of educators, he introduced himself as an ordinary guy, who picked up teaching as he went along. It grew on him and continues to love doing it.
“ I never thought of teaching as a profession. I like to interact with people young at heart (even if they are in 90s).” He believes that someone’s interest is enough to have an exchange of ideas.
“It is not a one-way steep. I give something because I get something back. Sometimes, more than what I have to offer” was his ideology on how he takes the transfer of knowledge and uptake of experiences and energy from his students.
He deals with topics like compression, combustion ratios, IC Engines and yet the best experiences so far being a teacher is when someone comes up to him and says that his course was the best course they attended in their college career.
He was more than happy to tell us that his students living in Sweden and other countries ping him on usual days and reminisce his courses as the best ones. He gets a stranger-shock too when while strolling to the happening malls, his students come up and thank him for everything they took and he offered in terms of learning.
“The best memories rebound you to the best of the times; that is all I look forward to. Salary, promotion, being the Head of Department- Baaki sab toh theek hai!” is the line in which this man summarised his level of commitment and contentment towards the profession.
Amidst the conversation he told us that internal satisfaction is something when a person remembers my work and has benefitted from it.
While asking his take on students, here is the most unique reply from the prof–“Be patient and committed to the work you do. Even if it playing games or watching porn. 5 years from now, you might forget what machine you designed or which projects did you work on, but the way to solve a problem is something that you’ll hold back throughout your life.”
He went further to tell us that any knowledge that is taken up, however small or insignificant it might be, it becomes useful in those years of life when you need it. And then someday, in your office cabin, you’ll be glad you know it. While teaching a Solar Energy course, which is otherwise underrated by mechanical engineering students, with the compassion of his teaching abilities throughout the course, his students came up to him in the end and said that they realized now how important it is. “Energy is now an important aspect of India. You need to have it or you’ll be left behind” was his reply.
He advises all the teachers to let a student, be a student and not treat them as inferiors but someone who would guide them through. Support for youngsters is also something that a teacher should radiate. Be a right combination of friendliness and strict attitude.” Let them know that when it comes to work, you mean business and at other times, you’re a friend!”
Never ever refuse to answer the question. His most emphasis on ‘never ever’. His strong encouragement of letting students have a doubt and resolving them also does not come in between in the timely completion of course. He says, “Even if the progress of the course is held out in due of a serious doubt, then it is worth it!”
On asking a suggestion for the parents of young student folk, he believed that clinging to him all the time does no good. They need to be free and have their own space. What they need is a little support and all is good to go!