Being a teacher can be fulfilling and yet challenging. If you’re thinking of taking up the teaching career path, here’s all you need to know before making up your mind, by Mrs. Sangeeta Mehrish, a high school teacher with 25+ years experience.
A school teacher is a prominent figure. Many exist in the world, but comparatively, it is an underrated profession. Becoming a teacher is a prestigious opportunity and dreaming of being one is even better! Let us go through some insider tips to help you understand the teaching career path better.
1. Teaching Career Path: What are the Aims of a Teacher?
The motive of the teaching profession is to impart knowledge not only about the subject in the curriculum but also prepare students to meet future challenges with confidence and resilience. This profession aims to develop competitive skills in students and nurture their inherent talents. Teachers need to enable them to be in a better position, use their skills not only to achieve their dreams but also to be able to contribute to the betterment of society.
I am a high school teacher, teaching commerce, accounting and economics to the 11th and the 12th grades. I have more than 25 years of experience, and I have been part of diverse schooling institutions, from north to south India. I have seen and prepared different kinds of students to face the last stages of schooling. My job is also to be a life mentor along with being a teacher, as students need crucial guidance during those days.
Contents: Jump to Section
1. Career in Teaching
1.2 Social Image
1.3 Reasons to Become a Teacher
2. What It Takes to Be a Teacher
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3. How to Build Interest in a Career in Teaching
3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4. Life as a Teacher
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5. Future of Your Career in Teaching
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit
1.1 What Does a Teaching Professional Do?
Teachers strive to develop a bond with their students and create such a rapport that there is no hesitation for them to approach us to clarify their doubts, not only related to the subject but also generally in life, if they need any advice.
The job responsibilities of a teacher are to create an interest in the students to gain knowledge in the subject. We impart adequate skillsets and inspire an inclination and competence to make use of this learning in the future.
This involves the curriculum laid out to be completed and also making the subject interesting by using various methods like quizzes, brainstorming sessions, and group discussions.
Skillsets of a teacher should be:
- Strong command of the subject
- Good communication skills
- Helpful attitude
- Willingness to address individual student problem
1.2 Industry/ Sector
Schools and the education sectors employ this profession. Facts aside, every field needs a teacher. The first teacher in a student’s life is a school teacher. A school teacher acts as a catalyst to discover your strengths and weaknesses during school days to help you channel them in the future.
There are different specialties in which you can become a teacher. English, mathematics, social studies, arts, and an ocean full. The best part about teaching is you can choose what you are interested in and impart not only the book knowledge but also your own hypothesis about your respective subjects.
1.3 Social Image
Since teaching is a learned profession, it is considered as one of the most noble professions and extremely respectful in society. This is because teachers help build the edifice of the would-be future citizens of the nation.
When you see your students prosper in the field you guided them in, or any other field, you are guaranteed the feeling of honor for being one of their mentors. You will be addressed with respect, in sequence to your profession.
1.4 Reasons to Become a School Teacher
Creative fulfilment, work-life balance, respect.
For those interested in contributing to the development and progress of society, teaching is a remarkable profession to choose. In addition, it also gives a good work-life balance, a creative fulfillment as it provides an opportunity for the teacher to devise various strategies. Similarly, teachers also need to find ways to make their subject interesting for better conceptual comprehension.
The teaching career path counts as one of the most demanding careers like doctor, engineer, or lawyer. In the end, you will be satisfied with the contribution you have made to society and future generations.
2. What It Takes to Be a School Teacher
2.1 Key Personality Traits of a Schoolteacher
Self-motivated, meticulous, passionate.
Personality traits of a teacher include being dedicated, being meticulous, open to learning new methodologies, eagerness to make concepts simple and understandable, command over the language, and empathetically oriented mind. In today’s times, you also to be technologically adept.
2.2 Physical Demands in This Profession
You will need to travel, if necessary, for outstation corrections, attending cell meetings and workshops. A lot of times you can take up extra jobs on the side as an exam supervisor, which requires travelling and adjustments. You must be ready to take the opportunities of self-growth as they come, such as workshops, extra classes or higher education. Health and fitness are essential as most lectures are delivered standing and a lot of time is spent on reading and learning. So, less sleep time is also possible.
2.3 Psychological Demands
Time management, multitasking
There is no high demand for anything, it can be flexible if you are dedicated. There are no target pressures as such if one is disciplined and has good time management skills to finish the syllabus in the stipulated period. Hence, there are not many psychological pressures to worry about. Time can be taken out for socializing if procrastination is avoided, again time management plays a role.
3. How to Build a Teaching Career Path
3.1 Extracurricular Activities Recommended
Any kind of participation in activities in school or college, especially
- Elocutions (public speaking competitions)
- Cultural activities
They will definitely add to your credit in the teaching career path. Since a teacher can help students not only academically but also support them in their all-round development. Teachers must be street smart and try to equip their students with that skill too, along with bookish knowledge.
3.2 Related Hobbies to Focus On
Brain development, reading
The most important thing to focus on is your memory, If you are interested in building a career in this field. A lot of times, we keep forgetting what we have read and yes, we can keep refreshing, but mostly you need retained knowledge. Hence, focus on building your memory power. A few games that tickle the mind and help with imagination are:
It’s also important to read and be knowledgeable about your favorite topics, as you’ll become an expert on a topic in order to be able to teach it well.
3.2 Movies To Watch
A few inspiring movies for teaching aspirants would be:
- Taare Zameen Par
- Nil Batte Sannata
TV programs related to general knowledge and world awareness also help while teaching students and giving them real-life examples.
3.4 Books to Read
Self-help books such as:
- The Secret
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
- Greatness Guide
- Story of My Life by Hellen Keller
4. Life as a School Teacher
4.1 Part-Time Job Options
Mostly full-time, otherwise go for coaching and tutoring.
The teaching career path is a full-time commitment that does not offer any side business opportunities except freelancing with coaching and tutoring. If you can pull some strings and spend some extra time, you can develop a good tuition community that not only elevates your profile but also gives good financial stability. And of course, if you have a family to take care of, then that would need quality time too.
4.2 Travelling Requirements
Yes, travelling may be required in the teaching profession, but occasionally. You might have to take students on field trips related to your subjects. Like I mentioned earlier, if you take up extra jobs like an exam supervisor or a guest lecturer, then you may be travelling regularly.
4.3 Average Workday
The day starts usually early, around 8 am for schools with a morning assembly followed by a series of teaching sessions for almost five to six hours with one or two breaks in between. Along with the regular scheduled classes, we are also required to do notebook corrections, making papers for class tests and exams, and checking of the submissions/exam papers.
Completion of routine schoolwork like filling the logbooks, attending departmental meetings, planning for cultural and sports activities, and mentoring students. In addition, we have to prepare for the next day’s teaching and spend time improving ourselves by continuous study and updating yourself.
5. Future of a Career in Teaching
5.1 Retirement Prospects
Loads of options.
Retirement is generally sixty years in most institutions. Some excellent teachers do get extensions, but that is a rare scenario. Prospects for post-retirement are joining coaching institutes, starting home tuitions, and becoming an education consultant or guest lecturer.
As social service, you can impart education to the unprivileged. If you are extremely knowledgeable, and have theories or thoughts to share, you can author books and submit articles for publication in journals, magazines, or newspapers.
Also, becoming an academic consultant or adviser is a wonderful career path to take up. If you have been good with recognising student’s strengths in subjects, activities and interests, this is a great job to consider and help a few unclear students out there!
5.2 Threats from AI and Automation
Depends on an individual
AI and automation do throw in a challenge, but it cannot replace the personal touch in teaching. A student-teacher rapport is way more than just teaching and learning, there is a human connection that no machine could copy. During the pandemic, AI and technology were plenty of help in providing knowledge to students. But still, teachers were much involved online as well.
If you do want to know deeper into this aspect, check out this article Does AI pose a threat to teachers?
5.3 Common Reasons to Quit Teaching
The resignations, if at all any, are very few and mostly on personal grounds such as relocation, marriage, maternity, or health issues. Other psychological reasons may play a part like loss of passion or being unable to handle the workload, if not managed properly.
Curated & Edited by Sreya Balamurali (CareerNuts Staff)
How To Become a School Teacher In India: Qualifications, Salary, etc.
To become a school teacher, you need the required qualifications but you also require the knack to engage with young adults to make them enjoy your teachings and help channel them into being successful in life. Mrs. Sangeeta Mehrish, a high school commerce teacher with 25+ years of experience, discusses the qualifications and requirements to become a school teacher.
Sangeeta Mehrish is a high school teacher, teaching commerce, accounting and economics to the 11th and the 12th grades. She graduated with M.Com. and B.Ed. from Rajasthan University and has over 25 years of teaching experience as a PGT. She has taught Higher Secondary classes in various schools, most recently at Vaels International School, Chennai from 2013- 2019.
Prior to that, she taught at Lilavatibai Podar Senior Secondary School- ISC, Mumbai from 2007- 2013. She has also taught at other schools, including Maheshwari Public School, Jaipur (1988- 1990), Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Vidhyalaya, Jaipur (1990- 1993) and D.A.V Public School, Delhi (1994-1998).
Currently residing in Jaipur, she takes online and one to one coaching in Accountancy and other Commerce subjects. She has also worked with students with learning gaps, to help them gain confidence and level up.
Sangeeta completed her CIDTT (Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers) in Dec 2014 from Vaels International School, Chennai. She also participated in seminars and workshops conducted by schools and Board Councils to gain insights into modern teaching techniques.