Contributing Writer — Shtakshi Gupta

Name – Shilpee Ganguly

Profession – Principal at Centre Point School, Nagpur

Age – 50

Gender – Female

City – Nagpur

Industry – Education

Insights

  1. For people with families and young children, teaching is a great profession since you don’t have to worry about transfers and it allows you to be more involved in your children’s lives as compared to other professions.
  2. Self-Improvement is a pivotal part of the job, as teachers have to keep up with a rapidly changing world; which is reflected in the capabilities of the students they teach and the way they are taught.
  3. This profession requires you to have good social and communication skills, as 99% of the job is done face-to-face and interactive basis. Also, patience along with love and affection for kids is crucial as getting exasperated or losing your temper can negatively affect your student’s self-respect.
  4. There is room for financial growth up to a certain level, but in terms of positions of authority and responsibility, teaching offers a more horizontal platform as opposed to a vertical climb seen in other professions.

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in Varanasi and brought up in Nagpur.

What is your family background?

Growing up, I had my parents and a brother. My father was the chief account at Lipton India Ltd and my mother was a housewife. Now my family comprises of my husband and our son who has done his schooling from Nagpur.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

My father definitely had a huge influence on me. Some of the most vivid memories of my childhood and adolescence that I have are those of Sunday mornings when my brother, father and I would sit and discuss everything right from politics, sports and education. That contributed a great deal to the opinions, vision and perspectives that I had and still hold to this day.

Please give us a summary of your career, chronologically, including organisation names and your role/designation.

I did my schooling form St. Joseph’s Convent, my 11th and 12th from S.M.S College and then I spent the next 5 years at the Institute of Science till my post-graduation. I have been with Centre Point since 1993, while I was doing my B.Ed. (which is an educational qualification for being a teacher) I got a job at Centre Point as a trainee, I slowly graduated from teaching 4th grade to 9th and 10th to 11th and 12th, then from being vice-principal to my current position as principal.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?

When it comes to teaching, qualification is of course one aspect and joining the right institutes to get the best education is important, but the best training is on the job learning that you do. The best teachers are the ones with the most experience.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?

That would depend upon your choice of institute, the course you decide to opt for and whether it’s government or private because there are no specific institutes for teachers as such.

What are the typical entry level jobs in this profession?

At the entry level the salary of a teacher is quite moderate but for those who love to work with students the satisfaction will be high. There are induction processes and on-the-job training as per the CBSE guidelines.

Usually we encourage teachers who are just starting out to go for primary or junior level classes and work their way up to the senior classes, because at that point of time you have a lot of scope for learning, it helps you understand the vast expanse of requirements for all age groups as each one presents its own set of challenges. That being said there are lateral entry points for senior classes for experienced teachers.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?

In India, the salaries of teachers are regulated by state/central government rules be it CBSE, IGCSE, IB or Cambridge Board. Yes, the kind of work you do and the level of responsibility you have are also governing factors, but the pay is far from arbitrary.

Describe your work? What do you typically do on a normal work day?

In the first hour of reaching school, all the heads like principal, vice-principal and coordinators meet and plan for the day and sometimes even for the week.

Then I have my classes, since in our school the administrators teach as well. Throughout the day I have several appointments wherein parents come to meet me. I also have to co-ordinate with the other 3 branches of the school in Nagpur so there are separate meetings for that.

Recently I’ve been busy with conducting the board exams, so basically things like conducting exams, setting dates, meeting people and fulfilling the administrative responsibilities of the school make up my day-to-day workload.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?

There are a lot of positives involved in this job, the major ones are-

  1. A huge practical advantage is if you have a family and kids, your schedule/ timings matches up with your children, you have roughly the same work days and holidays as a result you play a very active role in their everyday lives, you are able to be there for them and give them the time and attention they deserve.
  2. Working in private schools usually means you don’t have to worry about transfers so you and your family can settle in one place and put down roots. Although this might not hold true for government schools.
  3. Another thing is when considering someone for a promotion we don’t just look at their work experience and academic qualifications, we look for people who go that extra mile, are organized, punctilious, have good relations with students and co-workers. Since there are a lot of parameters, promotions depend more on merit rather than seniority. So, if you have a passion for teaching and a decent work ethic there is room for growth both in terms of designation and salary.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

The biggest one is that with the advent of technology and ubiquitous nature of the internet-based media students are processing a large amount of information in a very short amount of time, the expectations from the teacher change accordingly. We have to keep ourselves abreast of all these changes on a self-skill basis and realize that today’s generation differs from us in terms of their thinking process and capability. All of this means that self-improvement is of paramount importance.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding premium in your job profile?

The digitization of nearly every aspect of our lives means that way we conduct our classes and the mode of teaching has been altered drastically. Today with the advent of smart class we use power point presentations, images, and audio-visual sessions to educate students. We are no longer restricted to printed material, dusters and chalkboards and just like anything else this has its pros and cons.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

In this type of career someone who loves to associate with children and young people in general will undoubtedly thrive. The love and affection component are crucial, as you cannot afford to get exasperated or be mean to kids, if these are traits you possess then teaching is just the right profession for you.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned? Would you pursue another profession or a passion perhaps?

When I was starting out my immediate family thought I had the capability to make it as a civil servant and should give the UPSC exam. I did give the exam for RBI and even got an offer letter but owing to certain choices and circumstance I decided not to go in that direction. Today, I’m happy and more than satisfied with my job and career, but I can honestly say that this was not necessarily my first choice.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

For young professionals my only advice would be to be sure that is indeed what they want, make a checklist of where they think they will be 5–10 years later and have clear long-term goals and aspirations. I’m saying this because as humans we often crave for societal acceptance, general appreciation and good income status and teaching does give you all that but there is a limit to how high your income can rise, plus even in terms of designation if you teach the same grade depending on your work experience the pay package will differ but you will essentially be at the same level as the other teachers and then there are only a few positions at the top like principal and vice-principle, so have to think about these things before committing to this job.