Outstanding Instructor of the Month – January 2024

Outstanding Instructor of the Month – January 2024


Our Employee of the Month is Deepal Shah!


Deepal is a dedicated member of the Apollo team and manages many of our New Jersey sites. She has a strong work ethic and is committed to the success of every one of the instructors and students she works with. We are so grateful to have her on our team!


Deepal, thank you for being such an outstanding employee and teacher.

To show our appreciation for your dedication and hard work – please check your email this week for a special gift from us.


Check out our interview with Deepal below:


1.    Who are you, where do you come from, where are you going?  

I’m Deepal Shah, hailing from India but raised in the heart of the USA, New Jersey. My roots are deeply embedded in the Garden State, and I proudly identify as a Jerseyen. Despite being born in India, my upbringing and experiences have molded me into a true New Jerseyan. The cultural blend of my heritage and the diverse surroundings of NJ have shaped my identity. I cherish my connection to this vibrant state and its community, making it an integral part of who I am. Always a Jerseyen at heart, my journey encompasses a rich tapestry woven with the threads of diverse influences.


2.    How long have you been teaching with Apollo? 

I’ve been with Apollo for approximately six years, initially joining as an Area Coordinator. My role involves not only teaching students but also supporting and guiding teachers. I take pride in showcasing the ropes of the program and contributing to the creation of an outstanding educational environment. It’s fulfilling to be able to share knowledge and experiences, fostering a program that others can enjoy. My journey with Apollo has allowed me to grow professionally while finding joy in both teaching and shaping the overall educational experience for students and educators alike.


 3.    What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started teaching?

The most valuable lesson I’ve gleaned during my teaching journey of six years is the profound understanding of people. Working with diverse personalities within our program has provided insights into the intricacies of individual thoughts and perspectives. Recognizing and comprehending the varied personalities among colleagues and students has proven crucial for the security and success of this job. Learning to navigate and appreciate different viewpoints has not only enhanced my interpersonal skills but has also contributed significantly to the overall success and effectiveness of the program I’m a part of. It underscores the importance of embracing diversity for a thriving educational environment.


4.    How do you motivate your students to succeed? 

My approach to motivating students centers on constant encouragement and support, particularly during challenging times. When students face difficulties or have tough days, my role is to inspire them to overcome obstacles and strive for improvement in the present moment. I emphasize the importance of perseverance and the potential for growth even in the face of challenges. By fostering a positive and uplifting atmosphere, I aim to instill a sense of confidence and determination in each student. Recognizing their efforts and providing constructive feedback are integral parts of my strategy to motivate students, fostering an environment conducive to success and continuous improvement.


5.    If you could have any superpower, what would it be? 

Go back in time. 


6.    What is your most memorable memory from your time as an Apollo instructor?

My most cherished memory as an Apollo instructor is the sense of comfort and support I experienced upon returning to work after being laid off. The warmth and welcoming atmosphere created by the Apollo community made a lasting impression on me. It highlighted the value of the connections and relationships forged within the organization, transforming it into a place where I not only teach but also find solace and understanding. This memorable moment symbolizes the strength of the Apollo community in fostering a supportive environment, making it more than just a workplace but a place where one feels genuinely appreciated and valued.


7.    If you could retire tomorrow and never have to worry about money again, what would you do with your time? 

If financial worries were no longer a concern, I would dedicate my time to meaningful pursuits. Firstly, I would volunteer at a children’s facility, contributing to the well-being and development of young minds within the community. Additionally, I would explore the possibility of adopting a child, relishing the opportunity to experience the joys and challenges of motherhood once again. This vision involves a commitment to giving back to society and nurturing the growth of individuals, reflecting a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of children and contribute to the broader community.


8.    What’s your go-to technique for dealing with ‘handful students’? 

My primary technique for handling ‘handful students’ involves a combination of patience, positive reinforcement, and personalized attention. I strive to understand the underlying reasons for their behavior, addressing any potential challenges they may be facing. Establishing clear expectations and consistent boundaries is crucial. I focus on building a positive teacher-student relationship, offering encouragement for good behavior, and providing constructive feedback. Implementing engaging and interactive teaching methods tailored to their learning styles can also redirect their energy positively. Additionally, open communication with both the student and their parents ensures a collaborative approach to addressing and resolving any behavioral issues effectively.


9.    What is an unusual place you have been to? 

An unusual place I’ve been to was a school in New York. Despite my aversion to driving in the city, this school was not only my first experience in New York but also located in an area that felt a bit intimidating to me. The unfamiliar surroundings added an element of unease, making it a memorable yet slightly unsettling adventure. It was a departure from the usual, and the combination of navigating through New York and the unique atmosphere of the school left a lasting impression, making it an unusual and noteworthy place in my travels.


10. Do you have a talent that not many people know about? 

Yes, I have a hidden talent that not many people may know about—I absolutely love dancing, and it brings me immense joy. There’s a side of me that comes alive on the dance floor, and I can dance all night long. It’s a personal passion that adds a vibrant and expressive dimension to my life. While many may associate me with my professional role, the joy of dancing is a talent I cherish, providing a unique outlet for self-expression and happiness that not everyone may be aware of.


11. What’s your #1 teaching tip?

My number one teaching tip is to prioritize making learning fun for children. The key is to ensure they are engaged, enjoying the process, and, most importantly, having a good time. By incorporating elements of joy and excitement into lessons, you create an environment where children are not only learning but also laughing and actively participating. This approach helps prevent boredom, fosters a positive attitude towards learning, and enhances their overall educational experience. When education is enjoyable, it becomes a memorable and effective journey for both students and teachers alike.


12. What’s your favorite classroom Attention Getter? 

My favorite classroom attention getter is the classic method of using clapping. It’s a simple yet effective technique that naturally draws the attention of children. The rhythmic sound of clapping has a way of capturing their focus, signaling a transition or a moment of collective attention. Its simplicity makes it versatile and easy to implement in various situations, ensuring that the classroom environment remains organized and conducive to effective communication. The familiarity and universality of clapping as an attention getter make it a timeless and reliable tool in the teaching toolkit.


13. What is something interesting that you’re involved in, outside of Apollo After School?

Outside of my involvement with Apollo After School, I am a realtor, navigating the dynamic world of real estate. It’s a fascinating venture that allows me to engage with diverse clients and properties. Additionally, I have a compelling future goal—I aspire to open a daycare center for children. The prospect of creating a nurturing and enriching environment for young minds is a passion project I eagerly look forward to pursuing. Balancing the realms of real estate and childcare aspirations adds a fulfilling dimension to my professional journey, allowing me to contribute positively to both the housing and educational sectors.


14. How do you spend your summer breaks? 

During my summer breaks, I remain actively engaged with Apollo, focusing on hiring employees and organizing summer camps when necessary. Despite the break, my commitment to enhancing the program and providing opportunities for both employees and students continues. The summer becomes a time to prepare and implement specialized activities, ensuring a dynamic and enriching experience for everyone involved. By staying connected with Apollo and contributing to the planning and execution of summer camps, I am able to maintain a productive and fulfilling routine during the break, aligning with my dedication to the success of the program.


15.  Star Wars, Star Trek, or they’re both lame? 

Yea I do not watch it. 


16. What do you like most about working with Apollo? 

What I appreciate most about working with Apollo is the flexibility it offers for both my schedule and my children’s. The ability to balance work commitments with the demands of family life is a significant advantage. Apollo’s understanding and support for a flexible work arrangement contribute to a positive work-life balance, allowing me to fulfill professional responsibilities while ensuring that I can meet the needs of my family. This flexibility not only enhances my job satisfaction but also fosters a sense of well-being by accommodating the various aspects of my life in a harmonious way.


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