Teaching jobs and careers in the education sector generally don’t get the limelight they deserve. Snehal Divekar has been a teacher for over 13 years and is currently on a sabbatical. She worked as an Assistant Professor in the IT department of an engineering college affiliated to the University of Mumbai.
In this article, she talks about teaching jobs and careers in the education field, the pros and cons, average salary ranges and other aspects. For those who are tired of competing in the rat race, here are a few meaningful options for you to consider.
Being a teacher I have always felt that teaching is often perceived as a ‘fallback’ career by most of us. So I wrote this post to clear some misconceptions about taking up teaching as a profession.
I do agree that the initial years are a bit of struggle. It is the only profession where fortunately we are not under constant stress of achieving fixed targets and strain associated for achieving those. This is a very common problem with most of the young brigade who have just moved into the “work” zone, particularly in IT, Sales and Marketing, Finance etc. I have come across many of them who revert to teaching in search of better life, after testing industry waters. You can set your own targets and get respect while achieving those.
The notion that anybody can teach is incorrect. Knowledge of the subject matter, clarity of thought, articulation ability, confidence and passion are some of the traits that a good teacher should possess. If you have a passion for teaching then in my opinion you should make a move. There is a dearth of good teachers in the Indian market. Our system of education guarantees a steady stream of clients; irrespective of the state of the economy.
The first and the foremost requirement to start a career in academics is a post-graduation and for some colleges it is mandatory to clear an entrance examination NET (National Eligibility Test) conducted by UGC.
College teaching jobs
It is a perfect place to start with. There is always an air of hesitation taking up teaching as a career mainly because of the salary. Thanks to the pay commission, teachers today get salaries that are pretty comparable to the industry standards. This applies to private colleges too.
Career growth in this field can be slow, the hierarchy being – Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor/Reader.
Different institutes may have different ranking levels though. But mind you, teaching being a continuous learning process can take you at a different level academically if you have loads of patience, ability and willingness to keep your eyes and ears open all the time. It can open the doors to many other options listed as follows.
Academic institutes establish tie-ups with industries and research organizations through Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) which enhance faculty research, consultancy and technology exchange programs.
Institutes usually have written policies to vet such work. You have to convince your HOD (Head of the Department) that you are interested in such work. But this process is a bit slow. You have to be bit experienced to take this leap. If a faculty member chooses to do consulting he should
• Abide by institute regulations and make sure the work does not interfere with teaching
• Choose subjects within his areas of expertise and interest
• Set up guidelines for pricing (e.g. travel time, teaching, initial meetings) but be prepared to be flexible if needed
• Work with people who have strong interests in the success of the project
The plus points of taking up consultancy are as follows
1. Your dream of doing something like your industry counterpart is fulfilled.
2. You get paid appropriately based on the contract apart from your salary.
IITs and many private colleges have tie-ups with major industries. Consultancy these days is taken up as an independent profession. If you prefer to go that way keep the following things in mind before you jump onto it.
1. Terms and conditions of the contract should be fulfilled.
2. There is very little scope for vertical growth. You may probably end up as a consultant all through your career.
3. No job security (if taken up independently)
Areas of Consultancy to name a few:
b) Training Sessions and Seminars
This is an area parallel to teaching where the audience need not necessarily be college students. The training sessions are generally conducted for corporates. You can be a certified trainer to take it up as a career. Corporate trainers typically find themselves teaching topics that people don’t learn in their formal education, such as communication skills, business writing etiquette, public speaking, presentation skills and other job-specific functional and technical skills.
Academic bodies like ISTD (Indian Society of Training & Development) and XLRI (Jamshedpur) offer such certifications and there are many more.
Before you decide to go ahead in this profession please ensure that you have
• lots of confidence
• mature thought process
• spontaneity to deal with a difficult situation
• lots of creativity to keep the talk interesting
To keep your sessions interesting and the business running you have to be
1. constantly in the process of updating yourself
2. highly competitive and should be well informed
3. very strong in building up the network
You can be either associated with an institute or be a freelance trainer. The following are some of the areas which are focussed by the trainers:
• Technology related trainng
• On the job taining (OJT)
• Behavioural training
• Human resources training
c) Research activities
The scope of research in India is limited.But lot of efforts are on way to encourage our youth to take it up as a career. Funding agencies (AICTE, DAE, TIFR, UGC and others) in India are constantly encouraging the young generation to come forward.
Faculty Research programs are conducted by the universities to encourage the faculty members for research activities. It aims at those colleges aspiring to upgrade and rejuvenate faculty resources. It is intended to ensure that individuals with exceptional creativity, zeal and commitment to research and teaching are selected through this Programme under UGC.
If a new faculty member wishes to take up research please be ready with your magnifying lens
• Ability to work in a team
• Readiness to think beyond the beaten track
• Work for long hours
• Should have inclination for further studies
The advantages of taking up this profession
1. Paper presentation which gives you a platform to express your research activities
2. Travel abroad frequently (may depend upon the area of research)
3. Job security and job satisfaction
4. Research grants apart from the salary
e.g Technology and Services Giant IBM has signed a research tie-up with up IIT Guwahati.
But you may have to compromise on certain issues like
• Low salary
• Slow growth
• Difficulty in shifting career
• Lots of patience(slow results)
Having said this, honestly the career prospects in India are far too less as compared to the West .
Major areas of research
• Medicine, Engineering,Computer science etc.
• Finance, Management, Accounting etc.
• Classic and ancient history, Music, Performing arts etc.
The options described below can drive you to start a business of your own.
There is no pre-requisite qualification for working in a coaching class. To start a coaching class or to start working in a coaching class you have to adopt teaching and it can do wonders (thanks to the old mind-set of parents who push their children to classes). But you need to be the subject expert. This profession has a great future because it is very difficult to change the age old mind-set.
Coaching for (engineering, entrance exams, etc.) is a rage these days. The coaching classes are packed to its full capacity. They charge around 2000-2500 rupees per subject per student and each batch has around 70 to 75 students there are 5 to 6 batches in one semester. You can opt to be a visiting or a fulltime teacher. The salary ranges from 30,000 to over 1 lakh rupees a month.
Private tutors charge much more (5,000-10,000 rupees per subject per semester) but you need to establish yourself.
Promote yourself through rigorous advertisements (it’s a highly competitive market). Once established work hard to maintain the standard. Prove your worth constantly by giving good results.
Thanks to the advent in the technology. A new teaching methodology gaining momentum these days .
This online teaching method enables to teach students through Skype. You can create 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. This requires your strong network with the students before you decide to take this up. One of my friends has adapted the above method for students residing in Middle East and is earning in international currency.
Last but not the least teaching is completely unaffected by industry recession. So roll up your sleeves, follow your heart, and march forward!
Ok, children. Today’s class is over. Say thank you, teacher.
Snehal’s areas of interest include Computer networking and Programming Languages. Her latest initiative involved working on a simulation software for networking (routing algorithm) for her college. For many years, she has also coached engineering undergrads (especially for C++ and Java).