A Career in Teaching

Does your child want to become a teacher and have a successful career in teaching? Here are some tips for your child on how to become a teacher and the basic requirements for the teaching profession.

By Parama Gupta

A Career in Teaching

‘Teaching is the profession that creates all the other professions,’ goes an old adage. Quite true! Teaching is not only the mother of all professions but can also be a very fulfilling job.

A teacher imparts knowledge and develops a student’s talents by tapping into his potential to ensure he has a successful future. Besides honing the skills of a student, a teacher’s job also involves the all-important task of character-building and personality development. Yes, the responsibilities are immense. But, so are the rewards. The self-fulfilment that comes with the knowledge that one has been instrumental in shaping a person’s future, is unmatched by any lucrative reward that other professions may offer.

In India, there is a huge demand for well-trained and highly motivated teachers at all levels. Teaching can actually be quite an exciting career path. And, if your child shows an inclination for it, then you should do all in your power to back him in his pursuits.

Requirements for teaching

Professional skills

When it comes to professional skills, a teacher should possess the following -

  • an in-depth knowledge of existing theories and concepts in one’s subject
  • a knack for research
  • a drive to constantly update knowledge based on latest developments in the subject

Besides the skill set mentioned above, a good teacher should also possess the following traits:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Patience and understanding
  • Self-confidence and assertiveness
  • Discipline
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Fairness and impartiality
  • Positive outlook towards life

So, if your child is serious about pursuing this career path, you need to motivate her and help her develop skills that will come in handy in the future.

How to become a teacher

Here’s a look at the educational requirements and other special qualities that one needs to become a good teacher:

Mainstream education

Mainstream educational institutions include schools and colleges. Let us explore the job profile and the qualification required for a teacher at different stages of mainstream education.

Elementary education (School level)

Teaching qualifications for Preschool and Kindergarten stage

A teacher handling preschool children needs to undergo special training for nursery education. After passing his class XII exam, he should undertake a diploma course in Nursery Teacher Training. Montessori training can also come in handy here.

A teacher at this level has to have a way with tiny tots and be able to handle their various moods. Also, he has to be highly imaginative to capture the attention of young children and introduce basic concepts in a way that will stay with them for long. He has to be a story-teller, singer, actor, and much more, all at once.

Teaching qualifications for Primary school and Elementary school stages

While the primary school stage includes classes I to V, the elementary school includes classes VI to VIII. Here, a teacher is not expected to have specialisation but has to teach the basics of all subjects.

At the primary school stage, the foundations of mathematics, science and grammar are laid. Children of this age group can be difficult to control at times and the teacher needs to exert command over the class, besides providing a friendly atmosphere and making learning a fun-filled affair.

At the elementary school stage, the basic concepts of the core subjects are built upon and strengthened. Handling students at this stage demands a lot of the teacher’s energy as she has to pay attention to the progress of each and every student in the class.

To become a teacher at these two levels, your child needs to have a diploma in teacher education, after completing her school education course.

Teaching qualifications for High school stage

To teach students of classes IX and X, your child will need to possess a Bachelor of Education (B Ed) degree, which she has to take up after the completion of a Bachelor's degree in a specific discipline like arts (English, History, Geography, etc.) or science (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, etc.)

A B Ed course will prepare your child by training her on various aspects of education, which include theories of education, teaching methodologies, practices in classroom management, handling examinations, and so on.

While a B Ed course is generally completed in two years, there are institutions that offer Integrated Teachers' Training Programmes of five years (where a regular graduate course is combined with a teacher education course).

Teaching qualifications for Higher secondary stage

To teach students at the higher secondary stage (classes XI and XII), a teacher needs to be specialised in a particular subject by completing a masters’ degree in addition to the B Ed degree. She has to be thorough in her subject of specialisation.

Note: Apart from acquiring the basic qualifications, a candidate will also need to clear National and State Level exams (such as the CTET - Central Teacher Eligibility Test) to be eligible to teach in schools. 

Teaching qualifications for Higher Education (Colleges and Universities)

For teaching at the college level, aspirants are required to first have a master’s degree in their chosen subject with a minimum of 55 per cent marks.

They should then clear eligibility tests such as the National Eligibility Test conducted by the UGC twice every year for various disciplines, or State Eligibility Tests conducted by universities in various states of India.

Further, completing an M Phil or doctoral degree adds to the chances of growth in terms of position and salary.

  • Teaching qualifications for undergraduate level

At this stage, a teacher, referred to more commonly as a lecturer or a professor, has to handle students who have come fresh out of schools. The teacher, at this stage, has the huge responsibility of initiating students to a new way of academic life. Besides delivering lectures, she has to help students adapt themselves to the habit of self-study and has to aid them in developing their own voice and shaping their worldview.

A teacher may not get the luxury of time to devote to each and every student, but has to make out time occasionally to interact with them and give feedback on their work.

  • Teaching qualifications for post graduate level

At the PG level, students are expected to have gained the preliminary level of training in their respective fields and come with the purpose of gaining mastery over the subject.

Not deviating much from the style of teaching at the UG level, the teacher’s focus should be on adding to the already existing knowledge the student has gained and guide him to develop his research and original thinking skills. From this stage onwards, the teacher begins to assume the role of a guide, who has to encourage students to work on their own.

Non-mainstream options

Besides teaching in mainstream educational institutions, your child also has the option of considering teaching in non-mainstream ones like language centres or soft skill training centres. Even in these places, the rewards of teaching are high. Here, a trainer gets to interact with a variety of individuals and help them acquire certain skills.

Besides, special needs educators are also much in demand. Such educators work with children who have learning difficulties. This area calls for immense dedication and mental robustness.

Several professionals working in fields like banking, medicine, engineering or management later become a part of the teaching fraternity in their chosen fields and pass on their expertise and knowledge to the new crop of professionals.

Also Read: What It Takes To Be A Good 21st Century Teacher

Other teaching opportunities

Becoming a teacher opens up career opportunities in various fields. In addition to schools and colleges, there are private teaching institutions like coaching centres, tuition classes and training institutes which require the services of teachers. Moreover, a qualified teacher can also become an entrepreneur by starting her own tuition centre to teach students. Other career options in this field include school administrator, educational consultant, academic advisor, private tutor and text book author.

Career in teaching after 12th

Here’s a list of courses that you can consider for your child to pursue a career in teaching, after 12th standard:

  • B Ed (Bachelor of Education)
  • B A + B Ed Integrated Course
  • B Sc + B Ed Integrated Course
  • B El Ed (Bachelor of Elementary Education)
  • D El Ed (Diploma in Elementary Education)
  • B P Ed (Bachelor of Physical Education)
  • DPE ( Diploma in Physical Education)
  • DECE (Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education)
  • DNTT (Diploma in Nursery Teacher Training)
  • D T Ed (Diploma in Teacher Education)
  • BTC (Basic Teachers Course)
  • JBT (Junior Basic Training)
  • DNTT (Diploma in Nursery Teacher Training)

Teaching as a service to the society

A large group of youngsters across India today lead the teaching movement by taking up voluntary teaching activities. Initiatives like Bhumi, Hindustan Paathshala and Teach for India have taken the lead in turning teaching into a service of national importance. These organisations rope in young volunteers to impart elementary education to children belonging to underprivileged sections of the society. Some of them also provide remuneration to volunteers. Several youngsters have left well-paying jobs in the corporate sector to pursue teaching as a career, while others teach part-time even while working in regular jobs.

If you want to inspire your child to take to this noble profession, you can encourage him to volunteer at one of these organisations where he can get on-the-job training and can use this experience later when he pursues this career full time.

Becoming a teacher is not only rewarding as a profession, but also hugely gratifying as a service to the younger generation. So, if your child is really passionate about taking up a career in teaching, lend her all your support and encouragement to realise her noble dream. As American politician Brad Henry said, "A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning,” and you’ll be proud that your child is one.

Top Educational Institutions that offer teacher training courses in India

  • Delhi University
  • University of Calcutta
  • University of Madras
  • University of Mumbai
  • Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • Presidency University, Kolkata, West Bengal
  • Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh
  • Banaras Hindu University, Banaras, Uttar Pradesh
  • Christ University, Bengaluru, Karnataka

To inspire your child...

Here's a list of a few eminent personalities from India who were also teachers:

  • Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
  • Savitribai Phule
  • Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
  • Dr Manmohan Singh
  • Rabindranath Tagore
  • Nissim Ezekiel
  • C K Prahalad
  • Byju Raveendran

About the author:

Written by Parama Gupta on 04 Oct 2017 and updated on 28 Aug 2019

The author is a freelance writer and a higher education professional, with experience in teaching mass communication courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. As a writer, her areas of interest include education (primary, secondary and higher education), travel and children's literature and films.

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