Monday, March 23, 2009

To Be Or Not To Be A Teacher!

Time for another "Guest Article".Teaching as everyone knows is a very noble profession,yet not many of us get into the profession. This article throws light on "who should and how one can get started in the teaching line". It's written by a retired Professor,Ms.Shobha Kumar, with whom I had the good fortune of being associated through the Indian Dietetic Associations(IDA),Bangalore Chapter. Incidentally,she is also the current Vice-President of the IDA (Bangalore Chapter).

Ms.Shobha Kumar
To Be Or Not To Be A Teacher!
Once considered a noble profession, in the present times, teaching seems to be at the bottom of the heap when it comes to opting for it as a career. But fortunately,there are still some individuals who have the passion to teach and love their jobs.
Here are some suggestions I have for those of you contemplating the career:
  1. The first prerequisite to become a teacher is to understand the basics of the subjects you are interested in. You should be able to assimilate knowledge and then impart it in simple terms to another individual (who may or may not possess that knowledge). Try a simple test of directing someone to your home;if he/she reaches without a hitch you are a success!!!
  2. Coming to brass tags: you need to have the required educational qualifications. Each institution and university clearly chalks out the qualifications required to apply for a particular teaching post. By and large,a doctorate is mandatory for teaching in a college (some approve of M.Phil plus teaching experience). To teach in schools you need to have completed post-graduation, a B.Ed. and teacher's training.
  3. Besides the educational qualification you should have a pleasing personality (remember 50 or more pairs of eyes are watching every detail of yours). How confidently you carry yourself even if there are physical disabilities, is what counts.
  4. A teacher is a role model in many ways:
  • could be in terms of dressing up (be modest),
  • mannerisms (no digging nose and biting nails),
  • language- good command over the language,
  • No usage of bad words,
  • No wrong spellings on the board.
5.Updating your knowledge and continuously improving yourself is essential.
6.Teaching the same subject year after year with enthusiasm requires constant innovation in teaching methods and persistence to sustain the interest of student.
7.Though everything now is taught with power point, it is still helpful having a legible handwriting on the board as well as on paper.
8. Finally, give it your best with passion and be ready to accept your mistakes even if your student has pointed it out to you; humility counts!
So decide for yourself and enjoy whatever you do.
All the best!!!

Shobha Kumar
Prof. and HOD Dept; of Home Science(Retd)
Mount Carmel College


Thursday, March 5, 2009

How to start a career as a Dietitian (in India)?

A lot of students who have earned their degrees in Nutrition have no clue as to what should be their next step(I was one among them,not so long ago). For this very reason I approached none other than the President of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA),Mrs Dharini Krishnan.

Ms. Dharini Krishnan
Ms.Dharini Krishnan is the current National President of the Indian Dietetic Association(IDA). She has several years of experience as a Dietitian, a teacher and as a research assistant. She consults at her clinic at Mylapore,Chennai. She has also developed a personalised diet software called 'Digest' which is being used by many dietitians and also in several hospitals. Her website helps individuals and patients maintain good health through analysis of exercise and diet regimens.

1. What is your advice for a student of nutrition who has just graduated and is interested in becoming a Dietitian?
The need for India is in preventive nutrition being the global capital for diabetes and cardiac disease
Any graduate should take at least 2 years experience in the field she or he is interested in pursuing, then branch of on their own. There is huge scope for independent consultant dietitians in various fields such as obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, sport's nutrition and normal nutrition.

2. What are the requirements to sit for the Registered Dietitian(RD) exam?
Please check the website under the heading 'Registration' for all details related to RD, eligibility, when application forms are issued and so on.

3. Do you have a list of some of the hospitals in India which offer internship for the RD course?
The list will soon be up on the same website. As of now,here are some of the hospitals in:
Sundaram Medical Foundation
Ramchandra Medical College and Hospital
Sagar Hospitals
Christian Medical College and Hospital

4. Other than hospitals, where else can the candidate look for jobs?
Fitness centres, centres which offer corporate counseling, diet clinics which are mushrooming under the corporate banner and private clinics, pediatric clinics and obstetric clinics.

5. Can a candidate look to the IDA for help in finding vacancies?
It is good to be a life member of IDA. Once any student finishes graduation, one should become a life member of IDA and take part in the activities of the local chapter. Every chapter announces the vacancies which they hear about in the monthly meetings.

6. Is it mandatory to become a member of the IDA?How does one benefit by becoming a member of the IDA?
It is not mandatory to become and IDA member to get a government job. In the private sector it is well recognised and a Registered Dietitian is also given some weightage. When students go abroad especially to the UAE and related countries registration is compulsory after a particular level. Membership in Dietetic Associations where you studied is compulsory. IDA is also aligned with International Confederation of Dietetic Associations(ICDA) and we also have one of our members on the ICDA board. These alignments call for promising future to be an IDA member. Finishing an RD gives the skill sets to practice as a dietitian.

7. Who all can become a member(can the general public join)?
Generally, a life member of the association should be a person who has studied nutrition and dietetics. We have other kinds of membership associate members, corporate members. Soon all this will be updated on the website with the fees for the same.

8.How many chapters does the IDA have?
IDA has 17 chapters scanning across the country. All details are available on the website with address, email contacts of each chapter

9. Are there any programmes/meeting conducted by the IDA at the national level as well as locally?
At the National level, every year we have a Annual National Conference which is usually held during the month of December. Local chapters are welcome to hold symposiums regional workshops and other such activities which is convenient to them.