Engineer-turned educator Ameya Nagarkar’s passionate pursuit

By Indira Laisram
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Ameya Nagarkar // Pic supplied

“It’s uncommon for someone to pursue an education in engineering only to later decide to become a teacher. Whatever the catalyst, for Mumbai-born Ameya Nagarkar, becoming a schoolteacher in Brisbane has given him the privilege of sharing his passion with others.

“While I’m still learning about all the things I love, I feel like I’ve found my calling in teaching,” he says.

Growing up in an Indian household, Nagarkar was set on following his family’s footsteps and becoming an engineer. “If you’d told a younger version of me that I’d be a teacher, I never would’ve believed you. But somewhere during my university studies, I realised I was drawn to help people in other ways,” he says.

As a result, Nagarkar immersed himself in volunteering for leadership activities and tutoring students. He opted for an alternative pathway into teaching, seizing the opportunity to pursue a Master of Teaching at Deakin University while simultaneously working in the industry.

Despite the many rewards of teaching, it’s occasionally overlooked within multicultural communities. However, for Nagarkar, after more than eight years as a high school teacher, he says, “I can say this job has led to more innovation, impact, and progress than I ever expected. Every class is unique, every group of students is unique, and every day with them is a fun problem to solve. I genuinely look forward to sharing the laughter, the logic, and the ‘aha’ moments.”

Nagarkar began his career at Atwell College in Perth, where he taught mathematics, science, digital technologies, and physics for over five years. Today, as a teacher at Fortitude Valley State Secondary College in Brisbane, Nagarkar says he has found his calling.

“To be honest, each day I step into the classroom I feel a sense of achievement—knowing that I am making a difference for my students, that I am fostering the future generation,” he says.

Sharing a memorable experience that reaffirmed his passion for teaching, Nagarkar recalls an incident when students presented him with a ‘thank you’ poster at the end of the year.

“The poster had the phrase, “So what?” When I asked them why, they said they had picked up a message from me during our problem-solving sessions—never give up. Realising the impact my encouragement had on their own sense of resilience deeply moved me and reaffirmed my dedication to helping shape their futures,” he says, reflecting on the profound connection he has forged with his students over the years.

Another reason why he loves teaching is the opportunity it provides to witness the spark of curiosity and understanding in his students’ eyes. Whenever he’s teaching a new formula or theory, there’s always one student who asks, “But Mr. Nagarkar, how does this apply in the real world?”

It’s one of his favourite questions because he’s got plenty of answers, “There would be no airplanes without Newton’s laws of motion, no cruise control in your car without factorising equations, and no scientists or mathematicians without the teachers who came before them. I’m constantly amazed at how one tiny equation can lead to all these incredible discoveries. It’s like a single domino knocking down a whole row of big, exciting ideas.”

So, how does he foster a supportive and inclusive classroom environment? Nagarkar believes in cultivating a supportive and inclusive environment by openly acknowledging his mistakes, encouraging laughter, and promoting a ‘blame-free’ culture where mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth.

Beyond imparting academic knowledge, Nagarkar finds the most satisfaction in what students take away from his class. He advocates for instilling resilience in every child, empowering them to believe that nothing is beyond their reach, even in challenging times. Alongside resilience, he aims to cultivate optimism in approaching life, crucial for fostering lifelong learning.

Additionally, he emphasises the importance of listening without judgment and always acting with kindness, believing these qualities will accompany them throughout their lives.

“Just like engineers who leave behind structures that withstand the test of time, I’m leaving behind a foundation of knowledge that students can use to build their futures. In both roles, the impact we have is not just measured in numbers but in the people we impact and the lives we help shape.”

Read more inspiring stories of teachers and their impact at bethatteacher.gov.au.


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