New math teacher Ms. Kekre tackles teaching challenges as both a teacher and a mother


Luna Ashebir

Math teacher Mrs. Kekre brightens her classroom with teaching methods she learned from her credential program.

Luna Ashebir and Emily Wong

Dougherty Valley High School is starting off 2023 with a new math teacher, Mrs. Vishruti Kekre who just completed her credentials program and is teaching full time as an Algebra 1 and Enriched Algebra 1 teacher.

Before joining the DVHS staff, Kekre earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in computer applications. 

“Math is my favorite subject,” Kekre said. 

First hired in 2020, Kekre taught Algebra 1 and Geometry on an emergency credential for a year Though it was challenging to teach as a first year teacher over Zoom, Kekre described how welcoming and understanding both the students and staff at DVHS were.

Kekre explained, “There are a variety of students here and all are good, I [always] had good students, except a few in the class who are not much interested [in the class]. Maybe they don’t like math that much and they just want to get it all get it done with it because they want to graduate. Overall, students are very good here.”

“All the admin here is very supportive. I got [a lot of] good support from everyone here at school,” Kekre added.

To become an official teacher, Kekre had to complete her credential program which not only gave her experience, but it also taught her various teaching methods and efficient ways to collaborate with her students. Before this program, Kekre’s little experience in a classroom limited her teaching methods. 

“When I started in 2020, I didn’t have much experience. It was just, I know how to teach. So I used to direct teach [using] the board math is something you need to direct it, but not [do] everything. I was not used to the other methods of teaching,” she said.

Through her credential program, Kekre grew as a teacher, applying the knowledge she learned from the program to her current math classes. Some of those methods include group and project work. 

Kekre explained, “I was not much comfortable with group [work at first], because I used to get a little anxious [when] there’s so many students. I like [them] sitting in the rows [because] it felt [that] I had good control over the class.” 

However, after her credential program, she slowly embraced these new teaching methods. “I started grouping them in a group of three or four. I’m much comfortable with that now. So [the credential program] helped,” Kekre said. “[This semester] I’m [also] going to give them projects [like] poster works [and] reduce the direct teaching. I [will see] how it works [out this semester].”

Starting off at the middle of the school year where the students are already adjusted to the school year comes with challenges. 

Kekre explained, “When you start the new semester, the students listen to everything [and] follow the rules. [Now that it’s the second semester], whatever [I] say now is something I had to change because the earlier teacher had something different.”

The previous teacher who taught the first semester for her classes had set rules that Kekre had to alter for her students this semester.

“They were sitting in rows [before] and now I made them sit in groups, so they are not liking it. [They tell me they] don’t like the seating arrangement,” Kekre continued.

Such changes will take time to get used to, but Kekre is willing to work with her students and make changes needed to better their learning.

Such changes will take time to get used to, but Kekre is willing to work with her students and make changes needed to better their learning.

“I didn’t know anything what the teacher did [in the previous semester], so I had to ask the students, ‘Okay, can you show me your work?’ Everything is new for me, so there are definitely challenges that [arise] coming in [the second] semester. I think it will take a week or two for me to adjust and then it will be good,” she said.  

Outside of school, Kekre spends the majority of her time with her family. 

“I have a very small sweet family. I live with my husband. I have two boys. One older one is a high schooler and younger one is in fifth grade. And the are both into tennis. So that keeps me busy because my older one, he is ranked number 10 in Northern California, so he trawlers out of state. So most of the time I travel with him,” she noted.

Before committing to a teaching job, Kekre had pursued a career in software programing that she left 15 years ago to take care of her children which allowed for a new-found passion for teaching. 

I left my job because of my kids. [So I started] to teach them at home and then I started volunteering. I just used to go and volunteer at the school when my older one was in elementary, so I used to love volunteering and then I thought oh, this is so much fun,” she said.

She also explained how this career path, unlike her previous one, correlates with her priority of being a mother, allowing her both to discover effective teaching techniques she can use when helping her children, and allowing her to apply what she has learned about teenagers to improve and facilitate the  learning environment in her classrooms. 

“The credential program helped me. It trains you as a teacher and now I’m using that at home and also I have a teenager at home so I know how he behaves. So here, most of the students behave the same way, and I feel okay, this is how they are so nothing new for me, and I know how to handle them.”

But however similar her two priorities are, they still require individual attention, a commitment she sometimes struggles to find time for.  

“The first year was really hard for me. And it’s a lot of work actually. Earlier, when I was not a teacher, I felt  that oh teachers get so many breaks so many holidays. It’s so good. But now that I’m a teacher, I realize it’s not just teaching, right. You have to be prepared. You just can’t come and stand in front of the class doing nothing. And the grading is the most challenging part because there’s like 150 papers. So sometimes, it’s really hard, you know, like, balancing both my house and the school,” she said.

Aside from teaching and caring for her children, Kekre takes interest in singing and cooking.

Kekre said, “I travel and I like cooking. Singing is [also] one of my passions [as] I am a trained Indian classical singer. So I go to the karaoke most Friday nights and we have a good community there.”

Her co-worker Ms. Shannon Hancock also commented, “I can tell you [that] she is an excellent cook. She [has] shared some food with us at a math department get together. [It was some] very tasty [and] spicy Indian food.”

No matter what community she is in whether that be singing, cooking, or teaching, Kekre’s passion brings out the best in her community.