Tuesday, October 1, 2013

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Being a Hospitality Faculty – A Challenging Profession!

Hello Readers, this Article is to highlight the merits and demerits of ‘Teaching’ as a profession in the hospitality industry. I am thankful to Gowardhan Doddi for motivating me to write this Article for the benefit of the hospitality faculties/ trainers at large. I am in to this profession as a Head of Department – Food Production at Apeejay Institute of Hospitality since 5th.April 2007. 

It has been more than 6 years that I am pursuing this role and never ever even for a minute did I think that this job is boring or monotonous or less challenging. Prior to teaching, I was working in various hotels in India and abroad. Using this vast multi dimensional experience I decided to embark on this new journey of becoming a Teacher/ Professor. 

At the beginning I used to ask myself if I would be a good teacher or not. Then I started seeing things from a student’s perspective. I tried to understand the psychology of the new age generation students. There is a huge gap between me and the current generation. I had to bridge this gap and make sure that learning becomes fun for the under graduate hospitality students.

Upgrade your Educational Qualifications:
Teaching is a thankless job. Knowing this pretty well I still stepped in to this profession since it is still considered as a noble profession. I too followed my hearts voice and decided to venture on this path of becoming a hospitality trainer. First and foremost I decided to upgrade my own educational qualifications. 

I converted my 3 year Diploma in hotel management to a Degree by appearing for the lateral entry exam of YCMO University. After I earned a first class at the graduate level, I further upgraded my educational qualification by completing MBA in Hospitality Management from the same university. 

Many well wishers motivated me to do a PhD and following their advice I am pursuing the same at the moment. Thus a request to all my readers is to never stop learning and one must try to excel as much as possible in this short span of life and do well for the community.

Faculties must adjust according to the student’s psychology and not vice versa…
After studying the new age student’s psychology, I molded my training sessions in such a manner that students started looking forward towards my classes in anticipation. Attendance was and is still very good for all my classes, be it theory or practical’s. I am happy that students appreciate my way of teaching. A one hour class is broken up in to a few parts. I usually have a general chat with the students as soon as I enter the class to gauge what’s going on in their mind. Many a times I realize that the class prior to mine is either too stressful or too boring for the students. 

So I utilize the first 5 minutes of my class to neutralize the students and try to bring them on one mental platform. Then the next 10 minutes I generally do a quick revision of the topics taught in the earlier class. Students participate enthusiastically to answer all my questions. It doesn’t really matter even if they look in to their notes and answer. The next 30 minutes of my class involves the introduction of the new topic to be taught along with a few personal experiences. 

I engage the students by cracking a few jokes on and off. Also I randomly ask any student in between my class about any simple question related to the topic being discussed. By doing so all students are always on high alert. I focus more on the back benchers as they are normally the troublesome lot. But fortunately in my class all the back benchers are quite enthusiastic about the topic being taught and they ask a lot of doubts. A teacher has to appreciate students when they ask doubts. It simply means that the student’s brains are at work and they are synchronized with your teaching style.

Who doesn’t like to receive a pat on their back or simply a few words of motivation? Every student is hungry for appreciation. A faculty must learn the art of motivating students in such a way that the other students do not feel side lined at the same time. The best approach is to identify the weakest student in the particular subject and make sure that if he/ she understand what you have taught then the class has been successfully understood.

Keep Safe Distance…
Faculties should know where to draw the line between their friendly nature and between being strict. I have learnt this art from my colleagues at work. All my colleagues at the institute have been in the teaching profession almost the double time of my experience in to teaching. A faculty should ideally not indulge in sharing anything personal. Nor should a faculty indulge in to the personal spaces of a student’s life. A faculty must focus on imparting education to students in the easiest manner and transmit the message from books to their brains.

Paper Corrections…
Many faculties are not student friendly when it comes to paper corrections. By giving less marks many faculties feel honoured and consider themselves superior over the students. This point is indeed quite debatable but even the University while giving instructions to faculties for paper corrections mentions that all paper corrections should be student friendly. I have observed that students from vernacular mediums find it difficult to answer theory papers whereas the same student excels great during the practical exams. So my sincere request to all faculties is to look for the key words or read in between the lines rather than trying to expect all answers as per the book.

If I go on writing, maybe I would end up writing a book on this topic. But as of now the above mentioned pointers would be appropriate for all faculties or for people who want to become a Teacher/ Professor in life. Students observe each and every move of the faculty. Every word that a faculty throws at students is taken very seriously. A faculty can make or break student’s dreams. A faculty must learn to keep a control on his/ her anger and must always be willing to forgive student’s mistakes.

If you would like to know more about Hospitality Industry, You may follow Mr. Mnaoj Patkar's Blog  - ( http://patkarmanoj.blogspot.in/ )