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Shipra Batra: “Prepare for a bright dazzling future”

For a working woman to balance the workload with the demands of the family, it only takes a little discipline and planning and everyone benefits from it. It is vital to structure your day where the front end is strictly business oriented- while the kids are on their chromebooks for homeschooling, the mom can leverage […]

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For a working woman to balance the workload with the demands of the family, it only takes a little discipline and planning and everyone benefits from it. It is vital to structure your day where the front end is strictly business oriented- while the kids are on their chromebooks for homeschooling, the mom can leverage that time for her work, and everyone gets free together. The second part of the day can be spent together over meals


The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shipra Batra.

Shipra Batra is a professor of English in Addison, Texas, and is the founder-owner of her own academy, Shipra’s SAT and creative writing classes, LLC. She started her academy in 2015 in her studio apartment. Her academy operates fully online now, and she teaches over a hundred students monthly, all by herself. Shipra describes herself as a voracious reader with specific areas of reading interest in non-fiction and poetry.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your

Oh, absolutely! I was a high school English teacher in New Delhi, India, and migrated to the U.S in 2005. I was on the sidelines until 2010, raising my son fulltime. It was when he started going to school, I went back to my passion, aka, teaching , after a hiatus of five years. When applying for teaching jobs, I was aghast to know the colleges wouldn’t hire me on Indian credentials. Therefore, I enrolled for a Masters in Literary Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas in the hope to gain a decent employment. But destiny had different plans for me. Children in my apartment complex started seeking my help on college essay, reading and creative writing informally, and kept referring me to their friends. The influx of students got so much more than I could handle. That’s when my entrepreneurial lightbulb went off, and I decided to give a structure to what I was informally doing, and hence my academy was born!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

Yes. I was always skeptical teaching online. Many parents encouraged me to teach online so they wouldn’t have to commute to pick and drop their children. But I would never take a plunge. Each time I had a willing student from a different state to enroll for my courses, I would turn them down, until March this year. A parent transferred the tuition fee for my course and we were about to work on the meeting times when I got to know the student was from Boston. It was too late to cancel everything and go back to my shell. I not only did the course online, but also had great fun doing it. I kid you not, just two days later the world was shut down due to COVID-19, and everything had to be moved online . Since I had already gotten the required exposure and satisfaction just two days prior, moving digitally was a cakewalk for me. To make the story more interesting, I have PERMANENTLY shifted base to digital instruction only!!! You cannot deny the presence of heavenly Forces working on you!!!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

In the purview of academics, new projects will be courses, obviously. So, I will be adding Advanced Placement (AP) courses to my list of offerings. This was the only thing in English that I was not doing, but have been meaning to do it for a long time. I taught a few students at an informal level first to test the waters, and when they performed more than my expectations, it was a sign I was ready, and hence it will join my courses. It will be much easier for both parents and students, because my studentship starts from middle school onwards. The students typically start with my basic courses, and move up with SAT and college essays. AP was the only one that was missing, and the students had to go elsewhere for that or not do it at all, but not anymore! I am quite excited about my latest addition. Its just like a new baby born in the family!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Not a different story here. Like everyone, it’s been the support of my family, and their faith in me that has always given me the impetus to move forward in the direction of my passion and dreams. But one thing that has been my biggest driving force is my philosophy, which is to overpromise and overdeliver. If I only give the money’s worth, then I feel I have underperformed. It’s by striving to impart the ‘wow” factor in my work that not only makes me stand apart, but also keeps me going!

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

Challenge- the very word to me is a misnomer. If you are committed to provide the very best to your students, or whoever you are providing service to, then nothing really comes in the way. Even if it does, like the COVID situation, your dedication to your craft gives you the tenacity to turn it around on itself. The biggest family-related challenge was time. When the pandemic first hit, we were all baffled at the situation not knowing what to do. Everything had to be moved online bag and baggage that included my classes at the college where I teach and scores of courses that I tutor at my academy. This in addition to my teenage son’s school work made it all the more overwhelming. There was a brief period where I temporarily shut down , but was gradually able to restart and get going.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

My first impulse was to scurry around and freak out, but I resisted for the sake of the sanity of everyone around me. I gave myself some breathing time to rest and make sense of the situation. I nudged myself out of the denial mode and convinced about the new normal . Then I started to rebuild the dilapidated house brick by brick. I divided the day into chunks where each day I only did the assigned quota of work to regain normalcy and made my son do the same as well. Slowly and gradually, I was able to move online without misgivings and my son was able to get on and catch up with his school work. It was work, yes, but looking back, gave us confidence to surmount challenges.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

The biggest work-related challenge that I can think of was convincing the parents about the efficacy of the online medium of instruction. The need of the hour demanded immediate shift from the traditional mode of instruction to its online counterpart, which, unfortunately, many parents were not comfortable with. What made it more dramatic was that even when I was starting out and learning to do it all by myself with still so many misgivings in place, I was at the same time convincing others that it will work. This lit a bit of imposter syndrome in me briefly, but luckily it went off sooner than it came!

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

It appeared daunting initially, but once I got the hang of online instruction, it was a pretty smooth journey from then on. All I had to do was take a plunge, learn how to conduct classes online, and transfer every aspect of the face to face instruction digitally. Once it was done, the transition was seamless. Once I gained confidence and was sure of its viability , the parents reflected the same faith in me and my teaching, too!

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

For a working woman to balance the workload with the demands of the family, it only takes a little discipline and planning and everyone benefits from it. It is vital to structure your day where the front end is strictly business oriented- while the kids are on their chromebooks for homeschooling, the mom can leverage that time for her work, and everyone gets free together. The second part of the day can be spent together over meals

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

The chances of bickering and misunderstandings are fairly high when the family members are all huddled together for an extended period of time. While it is important to spend time together to remain connected, it is equally vital to indulge in activities and hobbies that you personally like. If family connection is important, so is the connection with yourself, and they both are definitely mutually inclusive.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  1. Treat this time as your enforced downtime, and just imagine how vitalized you will emerge after this long period of gestation.
  2. Never was, and never will come this period ever again where you will sit in your homes and be with your loved ones from morning till night, with no one going anywhere. Just imagine yourself completely alone, and you automatically start appreciating it.
  3. This is the best time to get rid of things that were not working and ponder the reasons why they weren’t, so you do not repeat the same mistake in your journey onward.
  4. This is the best time to be creative, as creativity needs both time and space to breed , and you have both in abundance now,
  5. After all the learning and self-work, just imagine the rewards you will reap when the world opens up. I think there are more reasons to be hopeful than despair.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Prepare for a bright dazzling future, and imagine that into existence already. That will give you the impetus and drive to work , and this interim time will not only seem to pass quickly, but because you are so invested into your dream, you will relish each day and make the best possible use of it. It is only when you meet your future successful self in imagination, you will get the drive to work for it, and will be able to make effective and productive use of this downtime.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“ This pandemic is not the end of the world, but the beginning of a new you” by Raj Shammami. I despaired in the initial days of the pandemic, oblivious where it was headed to. But with the passage of time, saw this period in the right perspective, and am utilizing and optimizing each day to sculpt a better me, which the humdrum of pre-pandemic era with its incessant demands on my time would not have allowed me.

How can our readers follow you online?

You may follow me at my facebook page, “Shipra’s SAT and Creative Writing classes, LLC.” You will find the course schedule, and other pertinent information on creative writing and theSAT.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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