One of the gravest tragedy that has happened in our society is the erosion of respect to teachers.
And, the fault lies at the door of the Govt.
In earlier days, as recently as 50 yrs ago, teachers were very well respected in our cities, small towns and villages. This gave teachers motivation to be role models to their students.
The Govt. in the last 50 yrs, has undone all that was carefully built by our ancestors over the last centuries thereby breaking the backbone of our education system, resulting in chaos.
One look at the employability of our students, whichever course or degree they have completed will indicate the magnitude of the chaos.
One good news is that the Govt. has woken upto the chaos and is venturing to set the house in order. But, bringing back respect to teachers is going to take a while. And, my opinion is, they are not considering this as an important part of the puzzle, which is a topic for another day.
Added to this is the complete change in the learning scenario across the world, brought about by Internet.
Students are able to access information about every topic in a subject and as a result, a teacher as a custodian of information and knowledge, choosing the right book, or writing notes has vanished.
A student can learn a subject, mostly on his own and this is resulting in a sort of diminished perception of the teacher.
So, we come to the point of discussion in this post “Should a teacher package themselves better and if yes, how?”.
The first point to note is a teacher has to be become an special subject specialist. Gone are the days of being a regular teacher. Let me give you an example. Suppose a faculty has an MTech in medical electronics he should aim to be the go to person in the vicinity for anything of importance in the subject. Meaning, if a faculty has a liking and an aptitude for a particular subject he should choose it to become a subject specialist.
He should also be a person whom the industry gets in touch for info, or problem analysis, or consulting services.
To become a special subject specialist takes time and effort. Before, you become an SSS, you have to build a presence for yourself. This is not an easy task, but can be done. The first step is build an online presence for yourself.
How does this help you?
There are more than 25 ways an online presence or a digital asset wll help you. Let me list a few of them.
First, a digital asset will be an online diary and a repository of your thoughts, and ideas, in the subject of your interest.
Second, as you update your diary periodically, a visitor will become acquainted with your progress over the years. [So, it is appropriate that you create a presence today and start posting].
Third, as you start posting articles, you will, by nature do better than previous ones, thereby setting your benchmarks and crossing them. There is no better self driven way to improve your skills.
Fourth, as you start writing articles, your researching skills improve and make it easier to publish papers.
Fifth, as your papers get published you can link to papers and provide publicity to your work. Not just papers, workshops you attend, conferences etc.
Six, after you build a certain volume of content you can start contacting experts in the subject and network with them.
Seven, you can drive students to see your digital property and develop an interactive platform.
Eight, Interview veterans in the subject and post the interview and build win win relationships.
Nine, start appearing in searches globally.
Ten, keep commenting and express your expert ideas on the latest developments in the subject.
Eleven, develop multiple skills, with one initiative. Skills include writing effectively on the web, creative technical writing, written english and organising content.
Twelve, start selling ebooks.
Thirteen, connect your social media presence to your digital asset. Learn what works and what does not.
Fourteen, provide resources and create value for your students and people interested in your subject.
Fifteen, become a part of teacher network in the subject of your interest.
I am sure you will find more ways a digital asset can help you.
By embracing the very technology which is disrupting the teaching profession, you can stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of the technology and not loose out to it.
So, create an onilne digital asset by creating a blog and lay a strong foundation for becoming special subject specialist and get your respect back.
In closing, let me also tell you that a strong digital asset can be as rewarding as a Ph.D.!!