Nothing gives students a greater sense of fulfillment than becoming teachers themselves one day. The people that one looks up to and idolizes as a student in school, college or university, set the standards of accomplishment and success in life. Becoming a teacher is a way of giving back to the student community, the same milieu to which one had belonged at a very important time in one’s life.
Even for teachers, it is a thing of immense pride and satisfaction when they see their own students growing up to adopt teaching as their profession. “The noble profession,” as teaching is often referred to, becomes even nobler. Education comes full circle; the values inculcated patiently by teachers in their pupils finally bear fruit. When students decide to be future teachers, it seems less of a choice and more of sweet destiny at work.
The transition from a student to a teacher is a gradual process, but a very rewarding one. It grows to be even more rewarding as time passes and a teacher gathers experience. For only then do the responsibilities of being an educator, of being able to mould the minds of young students fully take their toll.
There are a number of stepping stones on the path of a student who is keen on becoming a teacher. These are challenging in the sense that they help the would-be teacher fully appreciate their role in society.
Now, private tutoring is a common enough practice undertaken by students for several reasons. Besides being an informal training period on the road to become a full-time teacher, tuitions also help young tutors monetarily. Basic concepts of certain subjects are constantly refreshed and a connection with the student world is also maintained.
But formal teaching requires a series of steps to be completed. Parameters such as area(s) of specialisation and teaching aptitude are required to be fulfilled by a student who wants to become a teacher. Degrees from colleges and universities must be earned according to the criteria set by the institution in which one wishes to teach.
Two of the most important academic degrees that pave the way for a student transitioning into a teacher are given below:
Bachelor of Education (B.Ed)
A Bachelor of Education is a graduate-level degree, the successful acquisition of which enables students to become teachers in schools. Despite its name, a B.Ed is not the equivalent of an undergraduate degree programme. It is a professional degree. Students must have completed their graduation in a specific subject in order to apply for B.Ed.
This degree is ideal and a prerequisite for students desiring to teach in schools. B.Ed incorporates the learning of many variegated aspects of teaching. Simply verbal communication with pupils and evaluation procedures in the form of written examinations are not enough. Aspiring teachers are taught how to be role models for their potential students, who are the future citizens of the world. The emphasis on value education is as high in any B.Ed curriculum as on theoretical knowledge.
The duties and responsibilities that a teacher must be aware of are adequately focused on in B.Ed programmes. Proper comprehension of the intellectual and mental development of schoolchildren is imperative for a good teacher. Therefore, areas of study in B.Ed courses include, but are not limited to, the following thrusts:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Becoming a professor in a college or university requires the acquisition of higher-level degrees. Prior to that, the student must have completed their Master’s in a specific discipline of study. Following that, students must sit for various competitive exams like NET (National Eligibility Test), SET (State Eligibility Test) or SLET (State Level Eligibility Test), according to the desired designation, such as Assistant Professor, Lecturer or Research Fellow/Scholar with part-time lectureship.
Being a teacher in higher education institutes like colleges and varsities has different responsibilities than those undertaken by schoolteachers. The demands of students in higher education institutions deal with research possibilities, specialized knowledge, academic paper presentations, etc. They need highly educated supervisors in the form of professors to guide them in achieving their specific scholarly goals.
A Doctor of Philosophy requires students to conduct original research, publish peer-reviewed theses, dissertations and academic papers based on their research, and essentially contribute something new to their respective field of study. This is naturally a painstaking process which often takes up to, on an average, six years for completion.
Only by acquiring such specialized knowledge in a branch of study can one become a university professor. Earning a PhD is no mean feat. It is proof that a student is fully prepared to be a teacher at the highest level. S/he is now ready and completely capable of teaching and guiding graduates, undergraduates and research enthusiasts. The latter can look forward to trainers who are absolute masters in their fields.
The transition from a student to a teacher at the university level is the very summit of education, the highest peak of knowledge that pays respect to its roots of genesis.