How to transition from teaching to corporate training

It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.

– Queen Elizabeth II

 
How to transition from teaching to corporate trainingMost professions lay a great emphasis on certain specific skills, both soft skills as well as technical expertise which is expected to be learned either in a classroom or through experience. Nowadays organizations and educational institutes have understood the importance of soft skills and the necessity to inculcate these skills among students and employees. This is where the role of a professional trainer becomes imperative. Corporate training is not all about equipping oneself with average public speaking skills or an icebreaker activity but way more than what it meets the eye. Here is what you need to know to find your parachute to life after teaching by starting your career as a corporate trainer.
 

How teachers can become corporate trainers

Career change tips for school teachers and college professors

 

The baby step

No formal qualification is required to become a trainer. People from any sector and education background with the right skill set and aptitude can decide to become a trainer. Most people join this profession after they have worked for a while and gained considerable experience. The first step is to develop a technical or functional skill and graduate as an expert in that field to improve one’s credibility apart from working on one’s inherent ability to work with people.
 

Skills required as a trainer

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two.’’

– Jerry Seinfield

If you have mastered the courage to get up in front of a group and start talking, then half the work of being a professional trainer is taken care of. If you still have doubts then here is a list of questions to find out how many can you answer with yes.

  1. Can you maintain your calm demeanor and professionalism in front of 10, 50 or 500 people?
  2. Can you commence a session by clearly communicating the learning objective, goal and relevance to the participants?
  3. Are you adept at using humor, personal anecdotes, real life stories, metaphors and other delivery methods apart from Power Point presentation or lecture to engage an audience?
  4. Can you facilitate group discussions and offer constructive oral and written feedback post session completion?
  5. Can you simplify complex concepts by breaking them into simple concepts to convey information in a clear, accessible way?
  6. Can you prepare training documents tailored for specific audience?
  7. Do you possess a growth mindset that requires not only responding to audience and supervisor feedback but also work upon the suggestions and areas of concern to deliver better sessions next time?
  8. Do you possess an entrepreneurial spirit to work without supervision and meet weekly, monthly and yearly goals?

As far as I know all good teachers possess these skills because they are less of teachers and more of facilitators. We might be strong in some skills and not so strong in rest of the skills, but definitely we are not missing on any one of them. All these skills can be applied not only to human resources and other business applications but also as a trainer, thus making the next step for transition quiet secure.
 

Difference between professional training and teaching

If you want to transit from teaching to training then the most important thing you need to consider is the transition from pedagogy to andragogy. This means that your prior classroom experience would not matter much as the thing that matters most is whether you can seamlessly switch from managing a classroom of children or high school students to a classroom of adult learners. As a professional trainer you need to accept adult learners as participants equal to you and not as students. Hence all those strategies of controlling a class may not apply as you can’t discipline an adult learner in front of other employees. Hence reflect upon those challenging scenarios in your teaching career where you had unruly students who demonstrated disruptive behavior as they could not keep up with the pace of the entire class and now correlate this dealing with an employee exhibiting similar behavior.

Another aspect to hone would be curriculum development where you can develop a training course and create training materials from scratch as the classes in training session are of much shorter duration as compared to long school curriculum developed exclusively for one academic year. One of the biggest issues that educators might face is to understand that goals of training and academia are different. In academia the goal is to convey information via power point or simple classroom lecture and to expect that the responsibility to master it and prepare for the exam lies on the onus of the students. In training the responsibility for the participant to master skills and concepts is on the trainer. Unlike schools professional training sessions do not rely heavily on exams and tests but on practical hands-on activity as training is concerned with application to prepare employee for their jobs. To summarize training is extremely focused on the science and psychology of learning unlike the conventional transfer of knowledge.
 

Professional courses to become a trainer

As mentioned earlier no formal qualification is required. If you intend to start a career in this field then one can plan their graduation specializing in education, education psychology, instruction design, human resources, business administration, organization psychology, information technology etc. Since corporate training is all about enriching the employees of a company, acquiring a master’s degree in human resources or organization management can increase your employment and career advancement opportunities. In addition to this it won’t harm anyone if you pursue some foreign language course like French, German, Japanese and Mandarin to make you more attractive to multinational companies as you will be in a great advantage to communicate or even train multilingual stakeholders.

To get an edge over others one can enroll for ‘Train the Trainer’ (TTT) programmes. These short certification programmes for aspiring trainers last between three to five days. Certification programmes generally equip you with working knowledge of how to design training modules and prepare effective presentations, how to analyze the training needs of an organization, how to deliver effective training and measure its effectiveness.

In India academic bodies like, Indian Society of training and development (ISTD), XLRI Jamshedpur, Dale Carnegie Training and other training and consulting firms offer such certificate courses. These short courses can serve as an ideal launch pad to acquire trainer like skills and field experience, but this does not mean it can act as a leverage to differentiate between a seasoned trainers to that of a novice. This is because corporate training just like public speaking is a form of art which does not follow a well chalked out flowchart to excel in this profession. Like old wine it becomes better with experience, if you are able to gather confidence in your area of expertise as well as your ability to refine your skills to entertain and educate an audience.
 

Scope of corporate training as a career

To survive and flourish in today’s competitive world it is important for companies not only to train their employees and managers to keep them abreast with the best practice but also to instill a growth mindset amongst them to stay ahead of the competition. Most of the topics trained are those that people have not mastered to a great extent in their formal education phase such as public speaking, business writing etiquette, communication skill, image management, negotiation and sales skills and other soft skills. With India set to become the world’s youngest country by 2020, survival of the fittest will be the norm and soft skills will the crucial factor to consider. As a fresher one can begin one’s career as an entry- level employee or as an assistant trainer. Trainers can work as in –house trainers with organizations as subject matter expert, work in a training company exclusively devoted to soft skills training or even work as independent freelance trainers or life coaches. Common career avenues for a corporate trainer would be –

  • In house trainer – Such people conduct training and handholding for new employees in the same company that they work.
  • Specialized subject area trainer – They are subject matter experts who focus on specific areas like web development or software testing for software companies, banks and other commercial firms.
  • Executive coach – These coaches act as consultants to help clients or even companies to restructure and improve their business performance.

 

Challenges faced by corporate trainers

Once you establish yourself as a professional trainer, you will clearly realize that you can’t simply breeze into a training room and perform a little waltz to impress everyone with your talent. To deliver a session where every participant is engaged with rapt attention requires a lot more of sweat and grime than expected. Hence it is important to know some of the challenges that an aspiring trainer might face in his/ her rookie days –

  • Preparing relevant content – Before designing content one needs to assess the training needs of the participants to whom one is going to train. This means it does not matter how innovative or creative your training module is but what matters is whether you have created content, manuals, activities which actually fits in with the requirements of your participants.
  • Physically draining – Some training sessions can be as long as your normal working hour of 8 hours. This means it requires a lot of physical labor to prevent your body and vocal chords from being strained. As a trainer not only will you be expected to be on your feet but also remain energetic throughout to maintain the energy and interest level of your participants.
  • Feedback matters – As a trainer your session’s feedback should be considered as the sanctum sanctorum for your existence in this profession. If your session attracts a high Net Promoter Score® of 50 or above it speaks volumes about your session’s effectiveness and a positive yes for a follow up workshop by your participants. More than that you can analyze these scores to identify your strengths and weakness and to convert your weakness into something more well in your next sessions. Even if you perform your best but if it does not translate into good scores then it can act as a red flag for your client and even future prospective client.

Nonetheless it is all these challenges and initial learning phase that produce fine gold and if taken positively can be professionally rewarding. To quote in the words of the legend –

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’

– Muhammad Ali
 
Image credit: Dainik Savera Times


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Yasmeen Hossain //
Yasmeen Hossain
Yasmeen Hossain left her banking job to become a school teacher. She shares her experiences, knowledge and views on the Indian education sector.

11 Comments

  1. Ankita aggarwal says:

    Hi I am a physical education teacher in delhi from past 3 years . I had completed my masters in physical education . I want to work and settle in Singapore . Tried a lot of ways to get a job through online job portal but nothing happened . Can you please guide me if there is any international course related to physical education or sports in Singapore or university which certificate or degree have a great value and I can learn about international standards of teaching in ib curriculum or Indian schools in Singapore . After pursuing this I can look for jobs in Singapore . Please guide

    • Yasmeen Hossain says:

      Hello Ankita,
      Honestly I am not a sports person, so I really cannot throw much light about it. Have you tried in Indian curriculum schools in Singapore? Regarding IB curriculum you don’t need any university degree for it. Working in an IB school is sufficient and you keep yourself updated with all the workshops and online resources available on IB website.

  2. Shruti Tyagi says:

    Hello Yasmeen,
    I have M.Sc. in Physics. I am currently working in a public sector bank at assistant level post since an year. But coming from a family of teachers my passion lies in teaching. Kindly suggest me whether i should switch from my current job to a teaching one. Also, what should be my approach regarding searching for a teaching job abroad. Should I obtain a B.Ed. degree first? Will a bachelor’s degree suffice or a masters in education be needed? I am particularly interested in working in Canada. Can you please guide about the pre requisites of working as teacher in Canada.
    My mother is in teaching profession since 23 years. She has Masters in English and B.Ed. She is 47 years old. What career options does she have in teaching abroad. Kindly guide.
    Shruti Tyagi

    • Yasmeen Hossain says:

      Hello Shruti,
      To assist you in your decision making this article might help.
      http://www.careerizma.com/blog/how-to-become-teacher-india/
      For Canada B.Ed won’t help because they recruit teachers who finish their teaching qualification from their universities. So you have to basically enroll for a 1 year course in their university to obtain your teaching licence. Your mom definitely has a very solid experience to teach in Gulf and even South- East Asian countries.

  3. Meenakshi says:

    I have 12 years of experience of teaching maths to seconadary level students in delhi aadministration school in India. Along with this 5 years of experience of teaching English to senior secondary students. I have done BSc. and BED from delhi University, India along with MA english and Mphil. I want to work as a maths teacher in Australia or New Zealand please guide me.

    • Yasmeen Hossain says:

      Hello Meenakshi,
      B.Ed might not be the relevant qualification to teach in the countries that you are targeting. Please acquire the qualifications as mentioned in my article before you apply in teacher recruitment agencies. On top of it teaching experience in international curriculum schools would be required.

  4. Amsha says:

    Hi Yasmeen,
    Like all the other people who have posted their comments above, I too am quite impressed with the detailed information you have provided about teaching as an international career. A total thumbs up! I have been browsing a lot on the internet and trying to read as much as possible about teaching career. Frankly speaking, this blog is quite motivating for someone who is in two minds about pursuing a teaching career, even from scratch.
    I have been a software consultant for the past 10 years. I have an experience of working in the top Indian and American organisations in the short career I have had. As most IT burnouts,now I am also looking for a more personally satisfying job and find teaching to be quite inspiring a profession. Since I have no teaching background, I have my doubts about taking up teaching as a career without formal education and experience in that field.
    Personally, during my stint in IT, I started as a trainee engineer, then a developer, then an IT consultant and in later stages did quite a bit of client handling. I have extensive KT(training new members into the team) experience, which is a norm for most IT folks I would say. In the process of making a career switch out of IT, I have completed my GMAT and TOEFL trying to pursue an MBA. But then decided against it.
    Broadly my concerns and questions are:
    * With the kind of work experience I possess, will just a certification be sufficient for me to positively apply for a teaching job abroad.
    * I am not too keen on pursuing a college\school degree for teachers. But if it is unavoidable, is there a shorter (1 year, say) period degree which I can apply for.
    * I have been thinking of volunteering as a part time teacher here locally. How much would that add to my CV. Are there volunteering opportunities abroad as a teacher and then look for a permanent job too post the volunteering period.
    * There is a Banjara Academy(Bangalore) which provides classroom diploma course in counselling psychology and an online diploma course in counselling psychology. Would a degree of this calibre be valuable in applying for the teaching job.
    All these concerns are mainly because of no direct teaching experience in my career even though I have always been passionate about teaching, personally.
    I am keen on guiding students who are of lesser than high school grades, an age when kids minds can be moulded to be inquisitive students and responsible citizens. Above all better human beings. And about the subject, I am interested in taking up English or maths.
    I would be glad to receive any inputs from your end regarding my intentions.
    Awaiting a reply, thanks in advance.
    Cheers
    Amsha

    • Yasmeen Hossain says:

      Hello Amsha,
      Thank you so much for your appreciation and I am happy that my article can act as a guide for people who want to start their teaching career or are standing at a threshold where they plan to take a leap of faith. Now before answering your questions, I would like you to read my first article which will answer most of your queries. Here goes the link.
      http://www.careerizma.com/blog/how-to-become-teacher-india/
      Nonetheless the answer to your queries in the order that you have asked are as follows –
      1. If you are planning a teaching job abroad as a fresher without any domestic experience then the answer is no. In general 2 years of domestic experience is considered a safe experience but not the final verdict. For example when I attended my job interview to teach abroad, I just had 1 year of domestic experience. It all depends on subject that you teach as some subjects are more in demand compared to others because they are skill shortage teachers. Since you intend to teach English or Maths, I would recommend you to gain minimum 2 years of experience in India and preferably in a British curriculum or IB curriculum schools because growth opportunities in a proper IB school is very good for a teacher. Not only that most international curriculum schools prefer teachers who have the required experience teaching such curriculum.
      2. If you read my first article, then you will find out that I did not have any formal teaching qualification when I started my career because I started my career as a banker. Personally I also don’t believe in the syllabus of B.Ed as imparted in our country which according to me has a heavy emphasis on theory rather than the practical learning. Hence I did my teaching certification while I was working as a teacher in my first school. Since you want to teach abroad and hopefully in international curriculum schools then the most relevant would be PGCSE which I have mentioned in this article.
      3. Volunteering is something that I would like you to look at from the learning perspective and not as a means of loading up your CV. School administrators follow a fixed matrix when it comes to hiring and volunteering generally does not fall under that matrix even though such opportunities can catalyze your personality as well as learning opportunities. I have hardly seen schools conducting recruitment drives in Teach For India and other fellowship programmes or even hiring fellows who apply as a teacher in schools. For international volunteering AIESEC is one such body where you get such opportunities to teach abroad. Please check their website but again this won’t guarantee a place as a teacher in international schools. May be or may be not and it depends if you have the required qualifications as required by an expat teacher.
      4. As a teacher , understanding human / child psychology is not only an asset but also a prerequisite. This does not mean that a formal qualification is required until and unless someone plans to become a school counselor or special education teacher. For the knowledge part you can definitely do the course but it can’t act as a substitute for experience or teaching certification. Generally schools prioritize experience over qualifications. I have this very close friend who had done her double Masters from TERI University Delhi & in green chemistry from Ohio State University, but could not get a teaching job in India because she did not have a B.ED and some schools even said that they already have Chemistry teachers even though she was more qualified . So yes a lot depends on your luck also.
      Regarding high school teaching do be prepared that with your vast corporate experience, school Principals will still consider you as a fresher in spite of the fact you have conducted Knowledge transfer sessions for you new team members. It is all up to you to negotiate and convince them or even politely refusing their offers if you are not comfortable with the age group that they will assign you to teach.
      Last but not the least you spoke about IT burnout. Well teaching has its own challenges and many teachers who have an experience of around 10 years or more and even teachers who shifted from corporate sector to education sector have felt the heat of burnout. So I thought another article might be an eye opener and help you decide about your career shift. Here goes the link.
      http://www.careerizma.com/blog/indian-teachers-problems/

  5. Hina Kousar says:

    Hello ma’am
    My name is Hina Kousar. I have a teaching experience of 1.5 years in a private college and I am currently teaching english literature and language at an international school called Billabong High International School. I love it here and would like to broaden my horizon of teaching. I aspire to become a teacher in Canada. It would be very kind of you to guide me.

    • Yasmeen Hossain says:

      Dear Hina,
      For Canada, you have to sponsor your own visa as schools don’t sponsor candidates. So you can apply for your Permanent Residence (PR) and then keep applying to schools. Now do remember Canadian schools recruit teachers who hold Canadian teaching qualifications. This means you need to acquire a Canadian teaching qualification which generally is a 1 year course offered by Canadian universities.

  6. Shukti Basu says:

    Hi Yasmeen,
    I really enjoyed reading some of your detailed and informative articles. Like you, I too gave up a banking job and switched to teaching. I have been teaching for 2 years in an American curriculum school in Cairo, Egypt. Due to the nature of my husband’s job, we’ll be moving all over the world every few years. I was planning to do some kind of teaching qualification. PGCE is of course the best option but it seems quite expensive. Would you recommend a PGCE earned through distance learning? Or is it better to do it face-to-face? I already have a B.Sc in Economics and an MBA and I have been teaching high school Economics and Social Studies. I also completed a TEFL certification 2 years ago. What are your thoughts on Master of Arts in Teaching from a US university or a B.Ed/M.Ed from India? Looking forward to your advice. Thanks!

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