Insights

  1. Serving as a teacher, counselor and vice-principal at the same institute were very rewarding and fulfilling.
  2. If you’re teaching school-going or junior-college students, a B.Ed. degree is enough. However, in order to teach degree-college students, you have to pursue either a course called “NET” or M.Ed.
  3. A teacher’s income depends upon where she’s working. If you’re teaching at a government institution, your salary is inevitably fixed by the government. However, if you’re working at a private school/college, you may be paid either extravagantly or poorly, depending on several factors such as location, the reputation of that institute, fees they charge, your skill’s demand and supply equation etc.
  4. Computer technology is a cardinal factor contributing towards the quality of education. As a professor, possessing knowledge about ‘IT’ helps improve teaching techniques.
  5. It’s important to understand and empathize with children in a way that facilitates the building of a commendable rapport with them.
  6. As a vice-principal/principal, it’s important to call for/attend meetings organized within the school/college and by private bodies and the government too. One has to know how to deal with political parties too since they approach different institutes regarding admissions.
  7. St. Teresa’s Institute of Education in Mumbai is a highly recommended institute.
  8. Believe me when I say I learnt a lot from my students! They didn’t just learn everything I taught them but reciprocated too!

Profile Details

Name – Veena Gulati

Profession – Former Vice-Principal at Sacred Heart High School

Gender – Female

Age – 63 years

City – Mumbai

Industry – Education

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Delhi and completed my entire education there. However, my father’s business necessitated him to move to Mumbai, following which my family and I had to settle down here. I’ve been residing here ever since.

What is your family background like and who would you say, had a remarkable influence on you growing up and how?

We were a family of eight, my parents, three sisters, two brothers and me.

My father worked as a chartered accountant and my mother ran the house.

I’d say my family atmosphere leaned more towards the authoritative side, but, it was fairly diplomatic at the same time.

Someone who had a pre-eminent influence on me growing up would be my ‘Maths’ teacher. I say this not because I aspired to become a teacher back then, but purely because of how exquisite that woman was.

Please give me a summary of your career.

After securing my B.Ed., I started working with “Sacred Heart”, an all-boys’ high school in Mumbai. Initially, I was assigned to grade 7. I taught them Maths and Science. As time progressed, I was promoted. I started teaching the 8th, 9th and 10th graders consecutively.

Soon, I was elevated to the position of the “Vice-Principal”. During this time, I only taught mathematics. This was from 2001–2013.

Hence, I’d started my life, you could say, right at this institute and succeeded at maintaining my career here throughout. I was a part of this esteemed school for about 37 years!

Which institutes are the best for B.Ed. and M.Ed.?

I’d suggest you pursue your B.Ed. and M.Ed. from St. Teresa’s Institute of Education in Mumbai. I say this because of how superior their faculty is!

Whatever you’re studying, wherever you’re studying, make sure the faculty is good enough to recognize your talent and give you opportunities.

The staff plays a very important role in your overall personality development.

How much does it cost to do B.Ed., M.Ed., and Ph.D.?

As far as I know, you may incur an expenditure ranging from 20,000–60,000 INR per year, depending on the college you’re pursuing this degree from. This is applicable to your B.Ed. For your M.Ed., you’ll spend about 20,000–50,000 INR per year.

You can choose to pursue Ph.D. too, which will cost you about 60,000–70,000 INR per year. It may take four or more to complete, so the expenditure varies from person to person.

I’d suggest you pursue your B.Ed. and M.Ed. from India itself.

How to become a teacher?

If you’re planning on teaching school-going students or junior college students, you’ll have to pursue your B.Ed. This course is for two years. Once you secure this degree, you can apply for jobs at schools and colleges of your choice.

However, if you want to teach degree-college students, there’s another course called “NET”, which you can pursue from “University Grants Commission”.

Either this or you can pursue your M.Ed., which is for two years. After M.Ed., you can pursue Ph.D., if you want to reach the highest levels in this profession.

What is the average salary of a teacher?

Starting out – 1.5–2 lakhs per annum

5 years of experience – 2–3 lakhs per annum

10 years of experience – 3–4 lakhs per annum

15 years of experience – 4–5 lakhs per annum

20+ years of experience – 6–7 lakhs per annum

A teacher’s income depends upon a few factors. If you’re a professor teaching at a government institution, your salary is more or less similar to the figures mentioned above. However, if you’re working for a private school/college, you’ll either earn extravagantly or will be underpaid regardless of your services or hard work. There’s no in-between, really.

Describe your work as the vice principal of a school.

I, of course, had to attend to different things depending on my various positions in the school. (professor, counselor, vice principal)

As a professor, my most salient duty involved teaching my students, attending to their doubts and giving them extra attention if required.

I also counseled them frequently regarding their career choices, general areas of conflict, their ultimate aims, and goals, etc.

I used to spend about five hours at the school and worked from Monday-Friday.

As the vice principal of the school, my responsibilities entailed attending numerous meetings and seminars arranged by the government and various private bodies. Another duty involved addressing and dealing with political parties regarding admissions.

I also taught Mathematics during this period.

I think I used to put in the same number of hours as ‘vice principal’ as I did when I was a teacher.

However, there were miscellaneous things I’d to attend to as a vice principal that I never took up as a teacher.

This summed up my everyday procedure!

In your opinion, what are some benefits that would encourage an individual to consider a teacher’s job?

A very important benefit of opting for this profession was the fact that it never restricted me from spending time with my family. I never felt overwhelmed by the work I’d to attend. Hence, the work-life equilibrium was excellent and the pressure on us was relatively less.

Additionally, the faculty consisted of phenomenally experienced teachers. They were extremely amiable and humble. I got to learn ample from my seniors when I was a professor, which was grounding. It felt good to be in the presence of such affable individuals.

Another advantage was being surrounded by children. Believe me when I say I learnt a lot from them. They didn’t just learn everything I taught them but reciprocated too!

Counseling them was an honor to me. The mere fact that I was able to connect with them in a way that enabled them to share their troubles and happiness with me was wondrous.

Being a teacher was really satisfying and fulfilling to me.

And these benefits aren’t just restricted to me. Every teacher can experience these benefits if they’re passionate about what they’re doing.

Can you mention a few challenges that you would want someone to be aware of if they’re considering this career?

First of all, you must know how to handle children in the right way. If a child is distressed or seems disturbed, you should know how to handle the situation instead of just ignoring it or patronizing them. I’m not saying this because I was a counselor, too. It’s one of the primary duties of a teacher. Always take their mental health into consideration. Dealing with them can be challenging but it’s important not to give up on them.

Next, sometimes you may also have to deal with political parties that approach you regarding admissions. Now, this can be extremely appalling. It’s important to know how to deal with them.

Lastly, this job isn’t very promising when it comes to income. Teachers are often underpaid regardless of how experienced or hardworking they may be. One cannot expect a very commendatory salary from this profession.

However, for me, the perks always outweigh the disadvantages.

What are some relevant technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?

Computer technology, definitely. If opting for this profession, one ought to know their way around computers. IT has really helped us transform our primitive teaching techniques into new, improved approaches. It has benefitted children in the best possible way!

One should also know how to nurture a child professionally as well as psychologically. Reading is not enough. The theory isn’t sufficient. When you start off, you’ll have to understand children in a way that allows them to feel connected to you.

What kind of a person, do you think, would be content as a teacher?

Like I said, you should be able to deal with children in the correct way.

Since they’re really sensitive, you have to become their friend, however, along with that, you have to maintain your distance with them, so they don’t start taking advantage of your leniency! So, maintaining an equilibrium between these two ends can be challenging.

If you’re not looking for skyrocketing growth in terms of income and your position in the hierarchy, you’ll love teaching.

It’s important to maintain the sanctity of this profession. If you identify your personality and capability with these points, you’ll absolutely love your job.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

No, I’ve seldom reconsidered or regretted my decisions with respect to my career choices.

I absolutely love teaching. Never did I experience a moment of regret or boredom with regards to teaching. It was a decision I’d consciously made and put a lot of reasoning and contemplation into.

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

Keep your head on your shoulders. Don’t let your focus waver and never let go of your values. Pursue your passion, happiness will follow automatically, trust me.

You may also like to read our conversation with Mrs. Shilpee Ganguly (Principal at Centre Point School, Nagpur) here.