IntroductionCareer Planning is a big art: it cannot be learned from any textbook. One has to learn it from practice, from the lives of so many successful people. In the private school ecosystem, the changes are a lot more visible and this trend will hopefully continue in the years ahead. It can be reasonably expected that the New Education Policy will be first implemented in CBSE schools across the country. This is because the body called CBSE comes directly under the control of the Central Government. Yet, the State Governments also have private schools that are affiliated to its own State Board and the Government Schools. This is a pan-India phenomenon. However, career planning for any private school teacher has to necessarily proceed along a path of value-addition. Otherwise, the school Management is unlikely to reward the concerned teacher. In the main, such value addition will revolve around a) Acquiring higher qualifications b) Become a multi-tasking expert c) Taking initiative in all school work d) Infusing creativity among students, and e) Looking for value-adding experiences.
Acquiring higher qualificationsAll private school teachers need to compulsorily acquire additional qualifications. For example, the mandatory B.Ed course is not enough; those with the M.Ed course or equivalent course will be more valued and rewarded. The M.Sc( Counselling and Psychotherapy) course now being offered by many Universities throughout India, has a very good response from private school teachers. Reason?
The same teachers can be used as counsellors or voluntarily act as counsellors; the course itself has a big practical component and is just not theoretical; those with this qualification can easily become more effective teachers. This course has already caught the imagination of a wide range of private school managements and it does pay to have such qualifications. In the future, unless teachers have qualifications that are spread across different subject streams, they might find themselves out of employment. For example, if there is a Mathematics teacher with an M.Sc(Mathematics) and M.Ed qualification, he or she will do a world of good for himself or herself, by acquiring the Master's degrees in Sociology, History and Public Administration, now being offered by many Universities through the distance education mode, The logic is simple. The same teacher qualifies himself or herself to also teach Social Science subjects and there is a terrific demand for these teachers in any school. At the moment, at least in many pockets of Tamil Nadu, those teachers with this background are much sought after. There are not many people who are competent at all.
Become a multi-tasking expertHow about teaching the students about the present farmers' agitation and the reasons thereof, after thorough research, even if you are a Chemistry teacher? How about taking five students in the seventh standard in several batches to the local bank branches and getting them to get a feel of what is banking? Or better still, understand what is a savings account, what is meant by interest, what is a cheque, and so on? Or even better, invite the bank official to also come over to the school and explain in full detail, whatever they had seen in the bank? If the school management encourages such an initiative and the teacher also does it with passion, he or she would have become a multi-tasking expert. This is exactly what is going on in some Government schools, with the most dedicated teachers doing it with commendable passion. The name of the game is multi-tasking. Unless one prepares to become multi-skilled and competent enough to handle multiple tasks at the same time, he or she needs to become updated immediately. There is no choice for the teacher who is serious about Career Advancement.
Taking initiative in all school workMr Murugesan (name changed) is now the Principal of a private school in the Ranipet District of Tamil Nadu. It is a CBSE school and it is supported by a giant auto-component group of the TVS conglomerate, that has two big manufacturing units in the same small town. The school does serve the children of the employees, but other children as well. Mr Murugesan was the former Vice-Principal. He had virtually run the school when the former Principal was around. He had introduced the computerization of records. He had encouraged some talented teachers to be sponsored for special programs at an enormous cost. He naturally slipped into the post of Principal. Though one or two teachers have sought greener pastures, the rest have stayed behind. His core team of teachers is trained to take care of all administrative duties and one of them superbly handled the entire online sessions that were organized as per a time-table. Individual teachers who had some urgent personal work or were sick were given alternative arrangements and those who did not co-operate were shown the door. The Principal has a firm grip on all operations; the school day and sports day events are mega-events when all parents voluntarily show up and encourage all students.
It is widely recognized as the best CBSE school in the district. It has to be recorded the Mr Murugesan would spend endless hours doing all the administrative work; he would not take any holiday and even on Sundays he would catch up with the official work. The teachers are always encouraged to be creative and there are special programs that keep on adding value to the students at any point in time. Mr Murugesan has multiple post-graduate qualifications and is also good in the use of Information Technology. He has now grown into a tall leader who commands a massive deal of respect from the local community. All this has been made possible, only because Mr Murugesan had done all the hard work for several years and went far beyond the call of regular duty. Since he had several years of experience in handling the CBSE method of teaching, he is also an acknowledged Adjunct Faculty Member in several other CBSE schools all over Tamil Nadu. School Management is also very happy with his work.
It does pay to take such initiative and do all office work that is administrative. Once this sort of work is done, the school will automatically look forward to such teachers and reward them with promotions and special assignments. It is only such high-quality work that leads to good careers. It should be noted that in the aforesaid case, getting the students to speak English at least seventy per cent of what the Chennai CBSE school students would speak, is itself a big challenge. Through constant encouragement, Mr Murugesan has achieved this task with success.
Infusing creativity among studentsMr Murugesan, quoted above, has himself attended many applied behavioural science programs and has conducted several sessions all these teachers; the most promising teachers are also allowed to go to such programs and they are constantly encouraged to be creative in their approach. The lecture method is often followed by project work, special assignments and so on; even the average student has many opportunities to express himself or herself. a big chunk of the Alumni are all settled abroad and most do come back to the school to share their experiences in one way or the other. As a private school teacher, you need to compulsorily do it. For a start, you can read some good books, and the best of them in the Indian context is a book called "Fourth Eye" by Dr Pradip N.Khandadwala, the former director of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
However, please do note that you also need to read several other books and even attend any special program organized by the local University, particularly for school teachers.
Looking for value-adding experiencesThis is one aspect that needs special attention in your career. Mr Murugesan is a classic example. It does pay to even quit your school and take up the post of Vice-Principal in another school. However, you should note to not change the main domain. For example, if you are a teacher with a good CBSE school for ten years, you should be prepared to move on to another CBSE school. Prefer good CBSE schools that have Corporate support. For example, the Aditya Birla group has several such residential schools, including in Bangalore. This could become a good career choice for you, provided you are prepared for the hard grind. There is absolutely no free lunch anymore. Any school in the private sector will demand several pounds of your flesh. Be ready for this tough call. But once you show promise, the sky is the limit.
ConclusionPrivate schools across the country will acquire new dimensions of teaching when the New Education Policy is implemented. There will be a sea change in attitudes as well. All that any teacher needs to be done in a changing environment is the quick adaptation to change and be prepared for the hard work. Only those who do well will be rewarded. Post-COVID there is bound to be a good demand for high-quality teachers. All the very best for you to become one of such effective teachers.
In India, we see many qualified people but there are no jobs. That is why many educated people are facing problems in getting a job. This situation is being exploited by private schools. The private school managements are offering very low salaries to the teaching staff and make them work for a longer duration. But if a teacher establishes himself as a good teacher the management will never hesitate to pay more and retain him. That is why the teachers working in private schools should be always on the move and they should try their best to be an effective teacher.
The author made a good attempt to educate the teachers who are in the private sector as to how they can grow fast. A teacher should always try to improve his qualification and acquire additional skill sets so that he will become indispensable to the management. I have seen some teachers who take a lot of interest and go for an extra mile in discharging their duties. Such teachers are preferred by the management.