Whizzer At Dialogues: Here is a series that brings to light extraordinaire people in their respective pursuits.
We all have had or known at least one teacher who goes out of his/her way to help a student. Here are answers to all questions we have ever had about the making of such a teacher. A teacher who not just teaches, but also guides and gives you direction, and then lets you fly. Sunil Oberoi, or IAS uncle as we fondly call him, is a retired IAS officer, (’84 batch) who has worked very closely both nationally and internationally with Civil service reform when in service. Having always been involved with in-service people, he had no intention to get in coaching. At that point, he had no clue that the universe was stirring up plans for him to become a pivotal person to change the approach to Civil service examinations.

BANGALORE CALLING:

Two and a half years ago, he got a call from a reputed coaching institute in Bangalore, to address their students, particularly the Civil Service aspirants. What was to be one lecture turned out to be an ongoing weekend thing. He closely observed the process and the way the coaching centers and students approached the civil service examinations. He was displeased and it didn't take him long to figure out that perhaps there has to be a different approach to this. After being exposed to the way the students and coaching centers dealt with the civil service examinations, he felt like a change had to be brought in. During one of these lectures, he noticed that a particular student had stopped attending the lectures. At a later point, he bumped into this student and found out that the student could not afford the fees and therefore had to quit. Sunil decided to mentor this student, personally, and that's how the journey began. From then on, its only been an upward journey with more and more students. So much so that he needed a new place to accommodate all his students.

ENTER, DIALOGUES:

Having realized that the space at his place was getting interrupted both literally and figuratively, Sunil knew he needed a suitable space to continue his mentoring. It is during this time that a friend of his got him to Dialogues, and Sunil got acquainted with the team of Dialogues. Sunil conducted a workshop-cum-interactive session at Dialogues, which had a very optimistic response. The unique time-based model at dialogues proved beneficial to him, and thereafter he started conducting his sessions at Dialogues. Today he proudly mentors a bunch of 50 youngsters, which he hopes to expand to at least a 200.

THE SUNIL WAY:

The idea was to break the myth surrounding the civil service examinations and change the approach. Students being treated as a friend and to help them realize and live up to their own full potentials. Sunil provides them with a different approach, towards the exam, the syllabus, the questions asked over the years or just the perspective. “The eyes popping out when the perspective of the student changes; that look is priceless”, Sunil said, inviting the Dialogues team to experience the same first hand. He believes that having learned from his failures he has much to teach the students. Although being a college drop out, he cleared the Civil services examinations at the age of 22, in his first attempt, by the single virtue and capabilities of his own mind and sharpness, and just that. Which is exactly what he wants everyone to do. He has kept this accessible for all. Only those who can and want to pay a fee can pay any suitable amount and those who cannot do not have to. It has never been about the money - It’s always been about the service and that’s what teaching is, or is suppose to be at least.

TAKEAWAY:

It is great to meet young people and interact with them. However, it is sad to see their minds shut down, and Sunil just wants to help awaken that. His work is done, when a student realizes he/she is making a mistake.

WHIZZER's WISDOM:

"Don’t let the world shape your identity. You are you."

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