How We Got Started
FutureConnect was launched in March 2018 by Charuta Joshi, a 7th grade math teacher in a public school in West Harlem. Charuta believes that when students get a greater exposure to real-life jobs and skills, education becomes more meaningful to them. It encourages them to make more connections between what they learn in a classroom and the real world outside. Such an exposure enables students to discover and appreciate their strengths, possibly pushes them to pursue a passion, or at the least inspires them to be curious about the world.
As a teacher, she is fully committed to helping her students enjoy and learn math. While many of her kids do extremely well in math, she observed that they lack critical exposure that could help them make the right long-term choices about their career. As an alumnus of a leading Indian business school, and a business professional for 10+ years before her teaching career, Charuta appreciates that an exposure and understanding of the mechanics of the real world is more important than merely acquiring bookish knowledge.
Charuta spoke to many of her friends and acquaintances who are doctors, lawyers, researchers, artists, consultants and so on about the idea of FutureConnect. In these conversations, she realized that these professionals would love to work with young people, as a way to give back to society and to energize their own life. She felt that there was great symbiosis in connecting students with the community of professionals. This has only been confirmed as increasing number of professionals are signing up to conduct sessions and are also willing to come back for repeat sessions.
Charuta has a strong belief in the power of hands-on learning. As a teacher, she gives opportunities to students to discover math concepts through visuals, physical objects and puzzles rather than giving them math rules to follow. This belief has shaped the structure of the program. Professionals don’t just “talk” to the students about their career. Charuta works closely with the professionals to create interesting hands-on activities that help students learn about different professions in an organic way.