Chennaiite Ambika Mahesh Iyer excels in teaching, dance, story telling

Chennai: Is it possible for a person to be a teacher, dancer, artist, psychodrama therapist and a story teller? The answer is yes and 48 years old Ambika Mahesh Iyer of Sabari Salai, Madipakkam is an example for it. She received Best Teacher Award for her service in the noble profession of teaching.

In a chat with News Today, Ambika Mahesh Iyer, says, “I started learning Bharathanatyam at the age of 10, and performed in various stages including Raja Annamalai Mandram, various temples and even in Doordarshan. I have written script, directed and acted in the dance drama of Sivagamiyin Sabadham.”

The quadragenarian holds a Guinness Record for participating and training more than 250 students to be a part of the grand event of Maha Kaikottu Kali, a dance form practiced in Kerala. She holds eighth grade in Bharathanatyam from Annamalai University.

She says, “It all started after 1940s. After I got married, we moved to Mumbai. I was working there in a private company. After serving as a general manager for a few years, I had to leave the job as I had to take care of my family. That is when I started teaching dance at free of cost. I started feeling content.”

Psychodrama therapy

Ambika holds a diploma in Psychodrama an action method, used as a psychotherapy. In this method, clients use spontaneous dramatisation, role playing, and dramatic self-presentation to gain insight into their lives. It also helps in getting rid of pessimism and venting out suppressed emotions. She believes that it is important to lead a stress free life, as we all human beings need to co-exist and too many emotions create unnecessary confusions. She adds that it is essential to channelise and regulate human emotions.

Noble profession

“I always had a dream school in my mind. A school that is different from the stereotypical learning atmosphere,” says the teacher, who runs a private school in the neighbourhood.

“I try to bring in the missed out traditional concepts of learning. Children’s brain capacity before attaining the age of 10 will be enormous and that is when we have to inculcate morals and impart knowledge. Traditional games like Pallankuzhi helps in memory power, Aezhu Kal (seven stones) helps improve concentration, Paandi helps in strengthening limbs. There are so many such games that are no more in practice. I encourage my students to play these games instead of other indoor games, as they help in stimulating learning.” says Ambika.

She also holds a diploma in story telling. It is a simple and fancy method of teaching, especially in the montessori level. According to her, it makes the students interact well with their peers and improves imagination and creativity.

Talking about the Best Teacher Award that she recently received from The Lions Club, she says, “There is no word to describe my joy when I received the award. The recognition you get for your work keeps you going. It is the best motivation.”

M Anandavalli