1. Practicing CA involves long work-hours, which becomes difficult when you have a family.
  2. One should not fear to take a risk. For example, I changed my career at the age of 32 after working 8 years as a CA.
  3. Teaching gives me inner fulfillment, which is far more important than what I was getting as CA.
  4. One must love kids in order to work with kids and it requires a lot of patience.
  5. CA involves handling someone else’s money, which is extremely risky, and it is a profession that even though would give you a lot of money, is based on a lot of lies which was becoming very stressful for me.
  6. Look beyond money because it is more about finding yourself and seeing if you’re apt for the career or not.

Profile Details

Name – Monika Agarwal

Profession – Teacher at American Embassy school

Age – 45

Gender – Female

City – New Delhi

Industry – Education

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born and raised in New Delhi. I have an elder brother. I would say I had a slightly different school experience because till class 10th, I was in Lady Irwin school which was an all-girls school. In my growing-up years, I had friends with same ideas, so it was a very comfortable growing up and helped build my confidence. I switched school to KV because I wanted to change stream, which was not possible in Lady Irwin. It was a Co-ed school, so I had a lot of new experiences and my outlook changed.

What is your family background? Who all had the most influence on you and how?

My dad was a civil engineer with a government job in the ministry of shipping and transport. My mom was a homemaker, though her qualification was MA & B.Ed. Not doing a job was her choice. She helped me a lot during my school years.

The greatest influence on me was my grandmother and mom. My Nani received an education even though she belonged to a business family and getting an education in those days was very difficult. Mom set aside her career for us so that we kids could get everything that she couldn’t, and she had a lot of patience and always had a smile on her face. She never cribbed about anything. So, I always think that if somebody like them can do it in those times, I can too. These two women are my real-life heroes.

Please give us a summary of your career

I did B.Com (Hons.) from Hansraj College, DU and gave my foundation exam for CA after 12th simultaneously. I graduated from college in 1994 and completed my CA in January 1998. I worked as a CA for 8 years.

In 2003, I took a sabbatical. I wanted a change in the career because I wanted to give time to my daughter.

Then, I completed one-year nursery teachers training course in 2004. I started substituting as a teacher in the American Embassy school because they want their teachers to substitute before becoming permanent. In January 2005, I got a permanent job there and I have been working there ever since.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?

For CA, there is only one institute called ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountancy). Though, they have no particular institute where they give classes. The classes are just affiliated with it.

For Nursery Teacher Training (NTT), there are organizations in Delhi such as the South Delhi Polytechnic.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?

The fee for CA coaching in today’s time would be around anything between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2,00,000 per year. The same thing applies to the NTT.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in this profession?

To become a school teacher, you must be a graduate at the very least along with NTT diploma or B.Ed.

To be a Chartered Accountant one must clear all the CA exams.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?

As a CA

5 years of experience – 5 lakhs per annum
10 years of experience – 15 lakhs per annum
20 years of experience – 30+ lakhs per annum

As a Teacher (in a high-profile school)

5 years of experience – 5 lakhs per annum
10 years of experience – 7 lakhs per annum
20 years of experience – 8 lakhs per annum

Teacher’s salary doesn’t change much with experience unless you take on roles such as principal.

Describe your work

Being a teacher assistant, I help the teachers to run the class smoothly. I work with kids from 2nd grade. Sometimes, particular kids need more attention so, I have to work with them separately.

I work 5 days a week and my work timings are 8 am – 4 pm. If there is PTM or event, it stretches to 6 pm.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?

For me, teaching is a job that gives me inner fulfillment. You learn a lot from young kids. They teach you how to love life and be carefree. You get the feeling of never getting old. In a way, you do not age as you are always surrounded by young kids aged around seven/eight years. Teaching also requires less number of work hours and you can spend time with family.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

When I was a CA, I used to have really long hours of work and I used to work 6 days of a week on most weeks.

My day would start at 9 am and I had no clue as to what time I would come back. It could be anything from 7 pm to 10 pm. This way, I was not able to give time to my family that they deserved.

Also, handling someone else’s money was extremely risky and it is a profession that even though would give you a lot of money, is based on a lot of lies which was becoming very stressful for me.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?

With regard to teaching, one really has to be passionate about working with kids, which in turn requires a lot of patience. One must know how to remain calm and have a positive attitude and how to not raise your voice. One must know to balance between when you want to be their friend and when you want to be their teacher.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

The person should know how to take life easy and enjoy the company of kids. One should have such a sense of humor that you are able to tell a silly joke and laugh about it the same.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

I was passionate about teaching and interior design. So, when I decided to leave my job as a Chartered Accountant, I chose to teach because the interior design would again have the problem of long and odd working hours.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

My advice would be to be open to all opportunities that are available to you. Look beyond money because it is more about finding yourself and seeing if you’re apt for the career or not. You can switch careers. For instance, I switched career at the age of 32. Go with the flow and enjoy life.

If you liked this article, you may like to check out our conversation with CA Kailash Badoni.