Careers in Teaching and Teaching in a Business School

Transcript of slides used in a talk at a career options event for high school students organized by Ireboot, Bangalore.

Teaching Children vs Teaching Adults

Why look at a career in teaching? Teaching is considered a “noble” profession and teachers typically enjoy respect in all parts of the world. Teaching children in school requires very different skills and abilities compared to teaching adults in college. Teachers of children are trained in teaching – B.Ed. and are typically expected to teach multiple subjects. Teachers of adults in college are trained only in the one or two subjects that they may teach and not in teaching itself. Teachers also write about their special subject, about better teaching methods and also help other teachers teach better.

What makes a good teacher?

You do not have to be a topper in school to be a good teacher. Teachers must really enjoy teaching to be good teachers. As you teach you will learn and understand more about what you are teaching. Good teachers can help you learn on your own and show you what areas you can improve on. Good teachers can help you find out what you are good at and what you can be good at in the future. Good teachers can make you a better person and you can often feel the impact that they have had on you in your life.

What does it take to be a good teacher?

School teachers must understand children well. College teachers must understand youngsters well. Each student may have different and unique needs. You have to learn to be fair to all your students. You have to be considerate towards weak students. You have to be very patient – no quick results! You can be creative in trying new ways to teach. Teaching can mean lots of time spent on grading what students write (often with poor handwriting!)

How do you become a teacher?

At the school level you can do a B.Ed. degree after school – there are colleges that give a B.Ed degree. At the college level (graduation) you have to do Master’s degree in the subject that you teach – science, commerce, arts. At the university level you usually need to have a Ph.D. in the subject you teach – management, engineering etc. A teacher with Masters or a PhD can also do consulting and research and write on their subject. Teachers also guide their students on project work for companies. For the PhD you are paid typically by the government to study!

Work and results for a teacher

School teachers can make a bigger difference to a child over time as they spend more time with the child. Example – “Taare Zamin Par” College students will see many more teachers but with lesser impact on them from each teacher that they will see. At the school level you will have very high teaching workload and a far lower pay – you have to learn to spend less! At the college level you get a lesser workload and much better pay – but you will not become rich! At the university level you will have lesser teaching and more office work – but pay will be a lot better.

What is a business school?

A business school teaches students how to run a business – organizing people, using technology, knowledge, factories, offices. Business schools give a degree (like MBA). Managers running a business benefit from having this MBA degree but the degree is not essential to be a manager. Managers also benefit from short programs that are conducted in the business schools.

What do teachers do in a business school?

They typically teach MBA/PhD courses. They conduct manager training programs. They do consulting projects for industry. They attend/conduct academic conferences. They publish research papers in journals. They take administrative roles in the business school. They are on the boards of business companies.

Teachers in a business school

Enjoy high visibility/respect within society. They can make an impact by teaching managers. They can make an impact through consulting work. They can make an impact through their publications. Best aspect is that they are their own boss – they decide what to do! They can easily move across business schools based on their track record. They usually carry their reputation across jobs. They enjoy a more balanced work/life situation. They are sought after as there are so few of them!

But there are problems too!

Getting a PhD is tough – takes four or more years. Learning how to do research is very difficult and rarely becomes easier over time. Learning how to teach is difficult initially but becomes easier over time. Yet every session you teach is a new challenge. Students are very smart and very demanding. Teachers have to always update themselves as the business situation changes. Consulting clients may have odd expectations. It is also difficult to assess your own achievement.