The first thing that you must know about teaching as a profession is that teaching is about inspiring and motivating students to realize and exceed their potentials. The greatest teachers of all time have devoted their life in inspiring and empowering their students to achieve great things and be a good human being.
Just think about it. In 2002, Anand Kumar of the Super 30 program picked up students from amongst the poorer section of the society. Those 30 students could not afford IIT coaching, forget about even dreaming about getting into the IITs. Anand Kumar and Abhayanand not only just taught and coached them but also inspired them to dream big. Of the 30 students of the first batch, 18 made into the IITs. And 22 students of the 30 students of the next batch made into the IITs. The rest is history.
Perhaps, if Siva Subramania Iyer, a teacher of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam hadn’t shown him how birds fly and inspired him to pursue a career in flight, India might not have got one of its greatest space scientists and engineers of all time. India might not have got one of the greatest Presidents of all time. So you see, not only teaching as a profession but also as a passion takes you to greater heights.
What is the key role of a teacher?
Remember those classes where your teachers would share stories with you; explain complex topics through fun activities, and share their experiences and love for their subjects? They are not ordinary teachers. They are your mentors. They are the ones who inspire students, not just by teaching a subject, but by sharing a bond, exchanging thoughts, and building upon them. If this is what you want to reflect in your teaching career as well, then teaching career could just be the perfect profession for you.
Several studies show that subject matter knowledge, teaching skills, and personality are the key factors that influence students’ learning patterns. Become a great mentor and teacher for the students and achieve milestones. Thinking of how to go about teaching as a profession? Read the academic path mentioned below to understand various entry pathways.
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To build a career in teaching you need to understand the educational requirements as well. There is no greater requirement to excel in teaching other than passion. But you need the right qualifications to pursue a career in teaching. There are many ways to pursue teaching as a profession, some of them are mentioned as follows:
Nursery Teacher or Pre-Primary Teacher
If you want to pursue teaching as a profession and are interested in teaching only pre-primary students, then you can follow this career path. Nursery or Pre-Primary school teachers are involved in teaching young children in the age group of 2-5 years. Some of the nursery schools are often referred to as Kindergarten schools as they follow Kindergarten educational methods. Some of the nursery schools also follow the Montessori educational approach and they are called Montessori schools.
These schools prepare students to transition from home to primary schools by teaching the basics of communication, language, and numbers. They mostly use various activities such as playing, singing, drawing, coloring, arranging objects in order, and other practical tasks.
How to become a Nursery School teacher?
- After your 12th, you can do a Nursery Teacher Training (NTT) course, which is of 1-year duration.
- After your 12th, you can do a Kindergarten Training Program or a Montessori Teacher Training program. The duration of these programs are between 9 months to 1 year.
- You may also complete your graduation in any subject first and then do any of the above training programs.
- Some Nursery and Pre-Primary schools recruit graduates directly as teachers. If you have the right skills, you can begin your career in teaching after your graduation.
- Anganwadi Workers (AWW) – India has Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) which is the largest child development program in the world. One can take a short training and become an Anganwadi Worker in a village or in a semi-urban locality. Along with responsibilities in community healthcare, nutrition, and health education, Anganwadi Workers also undertake the responsibility of pre-school teaching.
Primary School Teacher:
Primary school teachers are involved in teaching students of class 1 to class 5 and play an important role in the overall development of the students. If you want to take up a teaching career but only for primary classes, then follow this career pathway. As a Primary School Teacher, you would make the learning experience of students more enriching by teaching them on a broad range of topics.
How to become a Primary School teacher?
- After completing class 12th, you can do a Diploma in Education (D.Ed.), which is a 2 years diploma course.
- After completing class 12th, you can do a Primary Teacher Training (PTT) program which is of 2-years duration.
- You can do a Bachelor of Elementary Education (B.El.Ed.), which is a 4-year integrated degree program. It is offered for training teachers at the primary/elementary school level.
- Many States in India conduct the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) to recruit Primary School Teachers in Government and Government aided primary schools.
Secondary and Higher Secondary School Teacher
If you want to take up teaching as a profession but only for higher secondary classes, then you must follow this career path. Secondary school teachers are responsible for teaching students of class 5 to class 10. Higher Secondary school teachers are involved in teaching students of class 11 and 12. As a Secondary or Higher Secondary school teacher you can teach specific subjects as per your graduation or post-graduation degree.
How to become a Secondary and Higher Secondary School Teacher?
- After completing graduation in any subject, you can do a Bachelor in Education (B.Ed.) degree, which is a 2-year teacher training program. A B.Ed. a degree is a basic requirement to pursue a career in teaching in a secondary and higher secondary school.
- You can do a Master’s degree after graduation and then do a B.Ed. to teach students in higher secondary classes or those who are in class 11 and 12.
- To qualify for central government-run schools and some private schools, you will need to qualify in the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET).
- The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducts the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) for candidates to be eligible to teach at the secondary and higher secondary levels.
- Moreover, some states conduct a separate Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) or a State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) or a similar test conducted by the school service commission for recruiting secondary level and higher secondary level teachers at Government-run schools as well as Government aided schools.
College and University Teacher
If you are interested in teaching as a profession but only wish to teach in colleges or universities, then you can follow this career pathway. College and university teachers, also called lecturers at the beginning of a career in teaching, are the senior-most qualified teaching professionals. They teach in government or private colleges and universities.
How to become a College or University Teacher?
- To become eligible for a career in teaching in a college or university, you must have at least a Master’s level degree. However, a Ph.D. degree is mandatory for promotion from the position of a Lecturer to that of an Associate Professor.
- After completing a Master’s degree, you will need to apply for and qualify in the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).
- A postgraduate degree and a certification of eligibility in the NET are two mandatory requirements for becoming a university teacher or lecturer. This is the highest position and the most sought career pathway for those looking for a career in teaching.
- Some states conduct a State Eligibility Test (SET) for the recruitment of Lecturers in the various colleges run by the Governments.
Rewards of Teaching as a profession
A career in teaching can be rewarding. It not only offers you a chance to impact young minds but also makes you immensely satisfied with the work you do.
- Teaching as a profession is immensely gratifying as it gives you the satisfaction of working towards empowering young minds.
- Teaching allows you to shape the future of young generations and thus you contribute towards building a cultured society.
- A career in teaching now offers a decent salary. A secondary school teacher earns around Rs. 20,000 – 1,00,000 per month or even more depending upon the years of experience in teaching and in school administration.
- A college teacher may earn about Rs. 48,000 to Rs. 2,00,000 per month depending upon his or her seniority.
- A university teacher may earn about Rs. 60,000 – 2,40,000 per month depending upon his or her seniority.
- Teaching as a profession is not only limited to teaching in universities/ institutions. You can also get a job as a Subject Matter Expert. (SMEs are experts in a particular discipline and hold a master’s or even higher degree qualification in their area of specialization.) As an SME, you can work in various organizations that are involved in online education.
- If you are looking for jobs in the teaching profession other than teaching at schools or universities, you could also look-up for opportunities in entrance examination coaching institutes. If you have a Master’s or Ph.D. level education qualification, you can expect attractive salary packages.
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Challenges of Teaching Career
With great opportunities come greater challenges. But these challenges should not define your decision; they should prepare you for what the future holds. Since no job is easy, every profession has its own set of challenges and teaching as a profession may have a few road blockers too. Therefore, before you venture into a teaching career, you should keep in mind the following important points:
- Changing technology trends in teaching: Adapting to the newer methods of online learning, teaching methodologies, online examinations, smart-classroom teaching, etc. could be challenging and may interrupt consistency and uniformity in teaching unless you are comfortable in using technologies.
- Dealing with Gen Z: Teaching as a profession has never been so challenging. Now, Teachers need to adapt to smarter and interesting ways of teaching as students these days have a limited attention span and they are more comfortable in using gadgets than listening to class lectures. Students in schools often use mobile phones and other gadgets in schools.
- Nowadays, with the advent of diverse teaching methods, it has become extremely crucial for teachers to manage student behavior both inside the classrooms and on live online classroom sessions.
- Continuous self-learning about subjects: Teachers need to keep up with the emerging tenets, theories, and knowledge in various subjects. Knowledge in various subjects continues to emerge such as in economics, business studies, biology, etc. A teacher, especially the college teachers have to study continuously and keep updating their knowledge base.
- Conflict Management: One of the most challenging parts of the teaching profession is to manage classroom conflicts among students. Teachers need to understand and carefully tackle short-tempered students and other students who interrupt classroom discipline.
If you are focused and passionate enough to take up teaching as a profession, then dealing with such challenges can be a cakewalk for you. Not only does a career in teaching give you the power to nurture the leaders for tomorrow, but it also instills in you the need to never stop learning.
To pursue a career in teaching, you must be aware of both the rewards as well as the challenges. Teaching career teaching gives you the chance to inspire and empower the bright young minds and build a better tomorrow.
However, before you decide to become a teacher, it could be a good idea to assess your personality, interests, and aptitudes to be sure of yourself. You may take the help of an expert career guide who can help you understand your true strengths and weaknesses.
Shruti Verma is a researcher and analyst in the areas of careers, industries, and education. She has completed her Masters in English Literature and is an alumnus of Delhi University and IP University. She interned during her masters at iDreamCareer and later joined iDC full-time as a Content Analyst. She is determined to secure an expert position in content space with the guidance of experienced mentors within the iDC team.