Every career has its own merits, but few professions like that of a Doctor and a Teacher, are the most respectful professions in the society. Doctor offers life to one, and a teacher cultivates and nurtures it. Although in India, Medical profession is chosen by many, but teaching or academics, often perceived as a ‘fallback’ career by most. Very few have it on their topmost priority, when it comes to choosing a career. Actually, teaching is a career that provides challenges, excitement, personal reward and a chance to encourage and support others to achieve their goals and that’s the reason, almost all have at least one favorite teacher in lifetime! Its not a mere profession , it’s a great way to shape young minds and in turn build our nation. In an industry where every professional is a student, Role of a teacher is immensely essential
Career in this field does not only mean a job in a College or an Institute but one can work as a corporate trainer in Industry, start own training Institute, give online training, make academic videos or teaching material, there are plenty of options available. More over Corporates today have accepted the fact that Training Workshops have the ability to transform the employee’s attitude. These programs also help enhance employee skills and further update, and pleasantly refresh their productivity and wellbeing. As a result, Corporate and Academic Institutes too are looking for Trainers.
As a result of the rapid technical transformation in education field, the role of a trainer / teacher has become more of a facilitator. There are plenty of teaching tools available: videos, online courses, tests which can be completed at one’s own pace, free downloadable lesson plan & Teaching guidelines and of course Google, Wikipedia are there for help 24 x 7 which have become the first point of reference for most. Though there is so much material at a press of a button, learning from an expert teacher has its own advantages, not all are ‘Ekalavya’. It’s a fact that a subject becomes the favorite subject of the students because of the teacher teaching it and on the other hand, if the teacher is not favorite, they may lose interest and start hating the subject. Every person has at least one favorite teacher who he remembers for the entire lifetime. Although, very few have their dream job as a teacher in an educational Institute, as they have their dream company. In most of the cases girls, women are interested in this field due to fixed working hours as compared to the Industry job. Those who want to work after taking a few years gap, also choose this profession. There are few, who switch to this field after working for few years in IT Industry. If you have good communication skills, falir for interacting with young minds and have Relearning aptitude , you must look at this alternative as a full time career.
The availability of motivated, passionate trainers is far less. Our education system, assures a steady stream of students, the state of the economy, industry recession affects academia too but not immediately, at a later stage, as a result academic career is a highly employable, payable and a respectable career.
The responsibilities for career in academics vary as per the role and the segment where an individual is working.
Private Training Institute
It is a misconception that teaching is a very relaxed, easy job and anybody can go for it. If one does not get job anywhere then teaching can be a job for him/her. In reality, teaching is an art. One should have a passion for teaching. A very experienced, knowledgeable person may not necessarily be an effective teacher. A good teacher makes difficult topics easy to understand, uses examples, analogies and variety in modes of explanation to make the content not only clear but memorable.
Following are some qualities to become successful in this profession
You are strict but caring, co-operative, determined, dedicated to your work, organized and finally if you are passionate about teaching then you can go ahead. There is a scarcity of good, ideal teachers.
A good and successful teacher should be matured, enthusiastic, evolving, approachable, should able to keep cool under pressure, have patience, a good sense of humor and presence of mind. The teacher should be able to cope up with the change, enjoy challenges and able to inspire students and improve their learning, confidence and passion, should always be quality conscious about anything where he/she is responsible.
It is almost mandatory to expect a Teacher to have a PG degree and ideal is a PhD from a reputed university.
Following are some skills a teacher should posses.
1. Correct and updated knowledge –Thorough knowledge and command over the subject, is the first for most thing which a teacher should possess. If the teacher doesn’t know the subject students lose faith and respect which is very difficult to restore. Should be aware of the latest information, related research work going on, its past, present, and future.
2. Learnability and always evolving - A teacher should always be a student throughout the life. A continuous process of year over year improvement and growth is a must. In IT sector there are many certifications and one must target minimum 1 per year.
3. Strong public speaking skills- Every teacher must have good presentation and communication skills to deliver training effectively. Should be capable to teach large groups, and also able to conduct one-to-one teaching session.
4. Effective Communicator: Should communicate with clarity. It is a fact that learning in mother tongue helps the students to learn faster. For Indians, English is a foreign language, so it may be an added advantage if the teacher knows the local language and uses it to explain some difficult concept for those having language barrier. A teacher must figure out the personalities and interest of each student by interacting with them and incorporate components that connect with each individual. As per the students background, the approach should be changed.
5. Teaching methodology: Should use correct teaching methodology starting from known to unknown facts, with clear learning objectives. Never disrespect students whatever may be the age. Design innovative assignments, teaching aids while explaining the concept and shaping the lesson in unique, engaging and dynamic way that grabs the students’ attention and make them want to keep coming back for more.
Professional trainers should use a variety of methods including role-play, simulation, lectures, case studies as per the subjects need. Assess the training needs of the employees, determine which skills and knowledge need to be learned and then decide on the most appropriate training method for imparting these specific skills, abilities and knowledge. The method must match the participants’ profile and needs. Choosing the relevant training methods, Preparing the training materials and aids, Conducting training sessions and, Evaluating the post training session is what is required.
6. Course Design – Able to design training programs. Aware about various patterns and approaches for designing, developing and delivering successful training programs. Should possess knowledge about assessment, grading and reporting. Familiarity with a range of training tools and techniques, classroom lectures, videos or presentations, online learning, training manuals, one-to-one coaching, and group role-play sessions. A corporate trainer should have a thorough understanding of the company’s products and services, which will ensure that the training delivered is effective and it would be easier to answer the queries confidently.
7. Good organizer and Planner: All teachers must be good organizers and should possess time management skills. Specially the corporate trainer should able to schedule sessions to meet a company's training priorities, make efficient use of training facilities and resources, ensure that the venue is set up correctly for the type of training and all resources are in place. They must also manage their time during individual sessions so that they can finish the course and allow time for questions or discussion.
8. Research mind – Teacher should have a research mind to guide the students. It’s better to acquire PhD if want to go ahead in academic field.
Finally the teacher should earn respect from the students with the knowledge and teaching skills , her un-bias nature, should able to expresses love for the field, ability to motivate the students to become life-long learners.
In today’s evolving times , Role Convergence is order of the day. In IT field we cant expect students to get guidance from parents/siblings. In this case a good teacher must also become a Counselor and Mentor to students.
There is often a great deal of uncertainty in the early stages of an academic career, before a permanent position is achieved which generally after one year but depends on the earlier experience the teacher has. What is required is the confidence to deal with criticism and stamina to face the heavy demands especially in the early stages of a career. Teaching can be a lifelong career which is recognised worldwide, enabling teachers to work in a wide range of settings and locations.
While the variety of academic positions makes for a rewarding career, there are many opportunities for committed and high performing teachers to progress to leadership and specialist positions. For a Professional collage or Institute, the career ladder :
Career growth in this field can be slow, since most of the Universities has their selection committee appointed which includes, subject Matter experts to select the candidates for the post and the vacancy in the institute depends on the norms given by the University. The position of the teachers depend on the number of students in the college /Institute and the teacher gets approval as per the vacant positions in the college/Institute.
General Career Ladder is as follows:
There may be positions created by the Management of the organization and the responsibilities given for the post.
In an affiliated and recognized academic Institute apart from teaching, there are other roles in areas where the teacher can work like:
Academic institutes establish tie-ups with industries and research organizations through Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) which enhances faculty research, consultancy and technology exchange programs. If one wishes to join consultancy in future, this will give him a brief idea of working.
b) Training Sessions and Seminars
The training sessions are generally conducted for corporates on topics that people don’t learn in their formal education. If the teacher has knowledge and experience, she can be a corporate trainer too.
c) Research activities AICTE, DAE, TIFR, UGC and others are funding for research work, to encourage the young generation. There are research programs conducted by the universities and Research centres to encourage the faculty to take up research projects. The individuals with exceptional creativity, zeal and commitment to research and teaching can take up the Research and Development assignments.
d) Online tutoring
With the advent in the technology, a new online teaching methodology gaining popularity. This online teaching method enables to teach students through Skype. Also one can develop educational videos and sell them over the internet. It has started to take off in a big way in India. It is a win-win situation both for parents as well as teachers.
If you have real passion for teaching only then go for the job in College / Institute , avoid using this field as a stepping stone till you get your dream job, it’s not at all ethical. Keep in mind that you are not setting a good example in front of the students. A hard core teacher always thinks of the students first.
If you are seriously thinking of this profession then decide whether you want to work in Academic Institute affiliated to University, in corporate sector, or as a freelancer. The first foremost thing is the subject knowledge. If it’s a academic Institute job them before appearing for the Interview, go through the syllabus set by the University, in case of other jobs too like private institute or as a corporate trainer in the company, find out about the details of the company and its projects. In case of University affiliated college , you need to prepare for at least 2 subjects per semester, as per your grade or designation and the work load given by university. You also should be able to work in lab conducting practical. Considering you most of the characteristics a good teacher has, you should be able to showcase all those skills at the time of interview. Generally if you pass the first Interview round you need to give a demonstration lecture. Prepare for the session without a projector and try to follow the skills a good teacher has. Since the college teacher also need to work at administrative side, if any kind of work, experience you had in your earlier life, mention it in your resume.
It would be an added advantage if you have attended any Faculty Development Programmes, was a part of research projects, developed any projects, Presented or published research papers in conferences / Journals, organized various events and so on
For corporate, in most of the Industries, they have their own way to certify the trainers as per their requirement.
For an affiliated college teacher, there is no specific certification for teaching. But to pursue this career and to go ahead, a post-graduation degree is must, in most of the cases it is mandatory to clear an entrance examination NET (National Eligibility Test) conducted by UGC. For each course, there are qualification and experience norms set by the affiliating University and AICTE for every post. The teachers are interviewed by a panel of expert committee set by the University. to give the approval to the right candidate. These teachers are then called approved Faculty. This approval is very important for the career. If a teacher possess an international Certification of his/her subject it would be an added advantage.
There are several 'Train the Trainer' programmes available for aspiring trainers, Faculty Development Programs (FDP) conducted by University, AICTE for specific subjects and Continuing Education Programme (CEP) by IITs , Subject specific training by Computer Society of India (CSI), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and so on. Attending various seminars, Conferences and workshops add value to teaching knowledge and contents and helps in teaching the subject. Getting the membership of CSI, ASM and attending the events organized by them would help in understanding the latest trends.