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Helicopter Pilot Jobs - 18 Pilot Positions Explained!!

Helicopter Pilot Jobs - 18 Pilot Positions Explained!!
so i'm sitting here out on the job at the moment i'm just uh contemplating sometimes a career choice and today's video i'm going to talk all about the different types of

jobs

that you could do as a

helicopter

pilot

so if that interests you come and have a look hi i'm rick james from the

pilot

teacher and today we're going to be talking all about the different kinds of

jobs

you can do as a

helicopter

pilot throughout my career so far i've had quite a variety of jobs and some of them have been really really awesome some of them not so much but there is such a awesome variety of jobs that you can do once you have your license and then certain jobs are going to require certain experience levels so this video we're going to look at some of the most popular jobs you can do as a pilot and what are the kind of the hourly experience requirements that you're going to be able to need to get one of those

positions

so let's go and have a look so the first one is is how i started and it's primarily uh very popular in the united states and that is to become a flying instructor and it kind of it's a bit odd you kind of you're fresh out of flight school but now you're teaching somebody else how to fly i don't know it doesn't quite work in the the sense that usually it's the the experienced old souls that are teaching most people how to fly but in the states this is one of the

positions

um usually you can start at around about the 200 hours um so it's usually the best low time pilot job and the problem is is you are at the bottom of the ladder so you know you're gonna be expecting poor wages anywhere from around about 20 bucks an hour and it's a very good job for you to refine your handling skills and building foresight as to planning ahead having somebody sitting next to you that's going to try and kill you you need to try and foresee how they're going to try and kill you and stop them from doing it it also teaches you really good communication because like where i was i was teaching students from all over the world whose language was different well their first language wasn't english so you had my terrible english accent that was even worse back then and somebody was from brazil say um yeah you had to learn how to be creative with your language and your communication and so it's uh it's good with that way um it can get monotonous though you can get to a point where you're sick of seeing the same training pattern or the same runway the same students the same maneuvers but it does make you very proficient at doing the maneuvers because you're doing them day in day out and as a low time pilot it gives you a really good foundation for emergency procedures which will last you throughout your life like i've done thousands of auto rotations fall downs to the ground and yet i can still have fun doing autos at training now and i want to be 15 17 years later so it's it's good for that at a busy flight school it's pretty good you can be flying up to 500 hours a year you can fly as much as you want and just be prepared that once you get to around about a thousand hours mark you are probably going to be asked to leave because the flight schools want to promote jobs as a flying instructor to their students to help entice students in so 1000 hours you're going to be ready to be moving on um the one thing that i always tell people is when you're a flying instructor just come out of flight school you have no flying experience you don't know anything but what you can teach is how to operate the aircraft within your limits the aircraft limits the limitations of the rotorcraft flight manual and the limits within the airspace so you're basically teaching somebody how to operate the aircraft safely you're not teaching them how to fly it because at 200 hours you've got no flying experience so that was something that kind of i took under my wing when i first started and it kept me safe and i also told my students that so it helped to keep them safe so flying instructors a good position and there's lots of them all over the us and it's probably going to be one of your first positions after you come out of flight school and the next job is for a eng pilot or a electronic news gathering pilot basically you're going to be flying a news chopper and these can be very company specific sometimes you can get on with a couple of hundred hours sometimes they want a couple of thousand hours it just depends on the company you can be flying anything from our 22s and r44s up to jet rangers bell 407s a stars and they seem to be the most typical news choppers some of the companies may require you to have turbine time so if you after you've come out of flight school you may be required to go and get a turbine endorsement on a bell 206 or something like that it can require very very early starts you can be at the hangar pushing that machine out and be airborne for first light because the morning rush is on and most of the news choppers are out covering the morning commute and you could be up there for a long time some companies require you to be up constantly over the city just waiting for the next thing to happen so you can be first on scene and some of the news channels can be very ruthless they want you on scene first um so you could be up flying around over the city for hours on end with nothing to look at um but it can be fun to to go and film some of the things that are going on you get to see some really cool things like i remember uh when i was at flight school our news chopper pilot went to watch um the demolition of a power station with explosives so they were up there hovering watching that so that was quite cool so you do get to see some good stuff but there are times where you just you know verbally twiddling your thumbs so to speak um you can be flying over busy cities most of the time um so you've got to be really good with your autos because um it's mostly single engine working if that engine quits you need to be able to make sure you can hit a ball diamond or something like that with your aircraft and so being over a busy city usually means you're flying around busy airspace so you need to be good and confident on the radio otherwise the big international airports are just going to kick you out and they're not going to let you in if you start causing them hassle so good on the radio most of the news machines are flown with a camera operator sitting next to you and sometimes they even have a reporter in the back and basically your job is to position the aircraft to frame the shot for the cameraman and most of the time these cameras have been doing it for years and years and years and they can just tell you exactly where they want the machine to get the best shot and so yeah you're there basically just to put the camera where the cameraman needs it to be so that's the news chopper pilot okay next one is a co-pilot and i know quite a few of uh my ex-students um that are taking up co-pilot positions and that can be in a corporate helicopter on a logging helicopter flying an offshore flying ems flying uh firefighter helicopters and basically you're just the second body sitting up front so you're usually in large twin-engine helicopters sometimes the companies usually require a couple of hundred hours and sometimes they require an instrument rating for some of the machines depending on the kind of position you're doing it it's a really good way to gain experience off the uh the highly experienced captains and old souls and sitting sticks to somebody who's got 15 000 hours you are gonna learn so much but you generally don't get much flying time actually hands-on flying time and it can depend on the captain some basically tell you to sit there shut up other guys girls like to pass on their knowledge and and kind of train as like a mentor but generally your role as a co-pilot you're going to be operating the radios you're going to be doing the navigation sorting out the navigation systems the gps you're going to be taking note of weights if you're doing logging and you're pulling logs off the hillside you're going to be monitoring all the aircraft temperatures and pressures to making sure that the the flying pilot's not pulling too much power that kind of thing so yeah you're basically going to be sitting there head inside scanning all the dials and because of that you want to make sure that you are not squeamish because sometimes depending on the jobs you can be um get emotion sickness so yeah don't be squeamish but it's a great way to gain experience the only problem with this is you cannot log pilot in command time you can only log second in command time and a lot of the jobs nowadays seem to list pic time but you know you get five six seven eight hundred hours of sic time and you can learn some really really good uh experience off the old guys so yeah this one's a co-pilot okay this one's a bit of a unique position this one is a frost protection or crop drying pilot and i've heard about it a few times and i know one or two people that have done it and basically you're flying like an r22 and r44 jet ranger sometimes even bigger sometimes i'll use mediums and basically what you're doing is you're flying low and slow over crops to prevent them from being damaged by frost and what you do is in the very early hours of the morning sometimes all night you'll just be flying low and slow over the vineyards or the orchards and using your roller system to pull in warmer air from above and pull it down to the ground surface to prevent the frost from killing the crops it can get monotonous you're just basically going up and down the fields or the the orchards or whatever it is and up and down so you can get tired it can be in the dark you've got to be aware of wires and trees and basically keep your wits about you there's been a few uh people that have had accidents because they have um not paid attention and flown into wires that they've been flying over all night long so yeah you just gotta be careful with that um it is sporadic and it can be very seasonal and it can be very tough to get into you kind of need to meet the right people or know somebody that's been there that can recommend you that kind of thing but yeah it's a it's a possible job for a pilot that's uh very early on in their career okay this next pilot is a very flight pilot and basically what this is is you are somebody that is employed to move a machine from point a to point b and usually it can be across the state across the country and you're basically moving machines for it can be anything for like maintenance or it's the end of a contract or um a company is sending the machine over to have it overhauled and the company that it's going to is across the country um companies like offshore companies like chc that used to be based out of canada they could fly machines from canada all the way down to africa um i know one guy that did that going up over the north over greenland and the uk and through into europe and so yeah that's a serious ferry flight but they are quite popular usually you are with a company first and they will then give you the ferry flights as a low time guy because it's a perfect way to build hours in a machine you get to see some incredible scenery but you've got to make sure you have really good flight planning fuel planning and weather reading skills because when you're flying long distances you've got to make sure you can get there and where to go as an alternate if the weather turns bad you've got to be aware of your limits so you know you don't want to be finding bad weather going into the mountains and keep pushing forward because that's where pilots get into trouble you've got that self-discipline to know when to land and wait it out or take a different route so as a very flight pilot good way to see a lot of beautiful scenery okay this next one is kind of dying out a little bit now with the advent and popularity of drones but basically it's a photo flight pilot and you basically take a photographer up in a helicopter so they can take pictures of you know luxurious homes properties yachts construction sites natural disasters anything that needs an aerial photo but like i say it's been taken away by drones now because it's so much easier and cheaper i've done a lot of these you can do them in r22s r44s jet rangers they generally don't want to be paying a lot for the aircraft they just want to get up there and take the photos there's not many good companies left there were some kind of notorious ones out there that would prey on low time pilots and basically just work them like a dog and pay them nothing but i think they're kind of being weeded out now it's really interesting work you can get to see some really really cool things but you just got to be aware of several things the cameraman always wants to get the right shot with the right light and that can sometimes put the aircraft into an unfavorable position with wind or the density altitude so you've got to be aware of loss of tail rotor effectiveness vortex ring be aware of your wind at all times and just um have the self-discipline to say sorry we can't do that shot from that position today because of the wind or whatever but i can come around and go from the other way and basically just try and find an alternative way to do it to keep the aircraft in a safe configuration but that's a photo flight pilot okay this next one is a tour pilot and this may be the way that you took your first flight in a helicopter it was for me mine was in liberty helicopters back in off early 2000s i think 2001 2002 and basically it's usually a good second job most companies require at least 500 hours and sometimes they may require a turbine endorsement and you can be flying anything from robinson r44s up to the most popular which is like the ec130 because it's basically just a you're sitting in a glass bubble and you can fit uh you know four people across the back row and two people sitting up front plus the pilot and you're gonna be flying around some beautiful parts of the world like you think about the natural beauty of the grand canyon hawaii um just those are the ones that just come straight off the top of my head you're just flying tourists around to view these national beauties these national treasures can be long days can be hot days especially if you're working in places like vegas until that aircon cranks up that's even if you do have aircon in your machines so it can be long hot days uh can be lots of repetition flying the same routes um but you can get good tips certain companies don't allow tips someone's some do it all depends on the company and but the other thing you also have to be aware of when flying tours is there can also be lots of aircraft in the vicinity and you have to stick to very specific routes and altitudes flying in and out of certain locations to basically keep separation so there's no mid-air collisions but good good position top pilots are really really great way to build hours great way to build skills and it's a very nice way to teach yourself how to fly accurately and i know a lot of people that are tall pilots and have been taught pilots so now we're going to jump up into the next category which is basically a thousand hours plus so the most common one is the job that i currently do and it is a utility pilot and basically you are an all-round pilot doing a very diverse range of jobs you can be flying in jet ranges r44s bell 407s a stars md 500s and you are basically just moving people moving cargo you can be slinging stuff in using your aircraft as a crane um you you can do such a diverse range of jobs and every day can be different uh one day you can be moving geologists into a camp and basically slinging in everything including the kitchen sink the next day you can be out taking a group of people um fishing on the rivers and the next day you can be doing a photo the next day you can be doing a wildlife survey there is all sorts it's a very very all-round job and the salary varies low time guys you could be starting right at the bottom like 20 grand a year um and if you get with a good company and you start flying lots you can be all the way up to 200 grand so it all depends on your experience the type of machine you fly how many hours you fly each year but it's a great way to broaden your skill set before you start specializing in a type of flying that you really enjoy okay the next one is a bit more of a specialized job and that is the game capture and wildlife survey pilot and this is usually working with government agencies um that are looking for animals in particular and you can be working with the landowners government wildlife officers environmental scientists and you could be surveying and capturing animals and you can be doing population control you can be setting up cameras out in the middle of nowhere to track migration habits of certain animals or you can be capturing animals with neck guns so there's there's quite a diverse range of work you're generally working in remote operations and you're either going out to camp or depending on where your company is you might be on on day jobs that kind of thing the surveying part of the job definitely requires it lost less experience than when you're flying with a net gun and the net gun you generally need good flying skills you're going to be low fast doing abrupt turns you know you're trying to catch a a hog or a deer um in a net being fired from a gun from the side of the aircraft you've got to be good on the controls and so there's not many positions available but it is a very interesting and quite diverse job if that's something that appeals to you okay the next position is an ems pilot or basically a medivac or air ambulance pilot it's a very very large sector within the world you can be flying single engine machines like a long ranger or a bell 407 you can be flying them during the day night vfr um or you can be then going up into the twin engine helicopters like ec 135 flying those single pilot ifr on goggles at night or you can be flying in a dual crew machine like an aw139 and flying day night ifr vfr mvgs you name it so there's a huge huge um diverse range of aircraft and places to fly the good thing about being an ems pilot is you are generally home based you're back home every day you have a set schedule you got to set salary benefits so if you're looking to start a family or have a family it's a really good solid helicopter position you're not going to be out in the middle of nowhere you do need good weather planning skills and you've got to be able to say no the industry used to be really really bad for helicopter crashes and they've really clamped down on the pressure to go and launch so and that's been a good thing but generally you're working as a small group a tight-knit team and it's not uncommon for the whole crew to interview the pilots just to see how they gel because if you get the wrong person join that team it can affect the whole morale so i've seen that before training is usually very good you usually going down to flight simulators full motion sims every year every six months um for flight training with current training so that's really good to get into the emergency procedures that you can't really do on the aircraft and but it can be quite slow at times you know there could be times where you're sitting around for weeks because the weather is is terrible you got freezing fog things like that um and if you're on shift for 12 hours you've got to be able to occupy your mind and have something to do whilst you're stuck at the hangar but it can be very very satisfying and humbling work helping people in their their worst time of their life and seeing them recover is a very very satisfying thing i've done ems work and it is it's it's heartbreaking at times but then you see the recovery and the resilience of people and it's a very very satisfying job and but because of that sometimes you're going to need a strong stomach because you may see things that you don't want to see but it's a very good position if you are a home-based pilot okay this next one is police and law enforcement and we've all seen the police chopper flying around overhead we've all seen the videos on tv and on youtube and basically the eye in the sky and they're up there day and night and you can be flying in a machine from like an r44 all the way through to blackhawks doing border protection things like that there's a lot of ex-military pilots kind of in this industry and it can be hard to get into because of that it's kind of like a boys club sometimes but if you do want to pursue police and law enforcement and there's lots of diverse work and depending on the kind of aircraft you get into you could be just flying circles over the city with five minutes of excitement followed by 55 minutes of boredom um or you can be flying machines where you're looking for missing persons you're dropping crews fast roping onto roofs all depends on the the kind of position you get and with the police department some of them require you to actually join and be a police officer before you're a pilot some of them do employ civilian pilots so again it all depends you're gonna get good pensions good schedule you're home every day you're gonna be flying with a tight crew and but the other thing you may only be stuck doing night shifts so that's something to look into okay this next one was one that i wanted to do the second i talked to a search and rescue pilot and i was at the air show at my local airport and the coast guards jayhawk came in and that was it i was hooked um unfortunately i couldn't go into the military at that point i was already too old but at this point i just like to watch him but basically search and rescue pilots are pretty much run by the military but there are some civilian operators out there like i know in the uk um they have civilian operators running aw139s and s92s and so depending on the country yeah there may be some civilian operators out there if not just go join the military if you're young enough most of the time you're operating in a two crew large twin-engine helicopters with night vfr goggles ifr capabilities lots of technology on the helicopter and you usually start out as a co-pilot it's very rare that somebody comes in as a direct entry captain without any search and rescue experience it can be challenging flying you're going out in sometimes horrendous weather you know if you've seen the show deadliest catch you know you look at those guys flying up out of kodiak and they're in horrendous weather there's the jayhawk comes in winching the guys off the back of the boats so you can be flying in horrendous weather you can be doing some long flights and once they put those external tanks on you can be flying for hours and hours and hours but tis challenging flying you get great experience you can learn from some very very experienced pilots and you're generally a home based pilot good schedule benefits salary good tight-knit crew you're gonna be flying some of the best technology lots and lots of training but there's not that many spots to get into because a lot of people that become a sar pilot basically stay in it for their career because they love it i know two sar pilots and they'll be there until they retire so yeah very very challenging and rewarding job but difficult to get into okay the next one is a heli logging pilot and i know quite a few of these guys and girls and you can be flying single pilot dual pilot usually it starts at the the bell medium so 205 212s then it goes up to the 61s the cranes that kind of thing and basically what you're doing is you are removing trees from a hillside or an area and bringing them to a staging area they like to use hey logging now because it's cheaper and faster you don't have to build roads to bring logging trucks up into the hillsides and so the guys go in with their chainsaws fell the trees and you'll either go in with a grapple and pick them off or they'll be guys on the ground that will have chokers around the trees and you basically put your hook down to them they'll hook you up and off you pull with the logs um can be very long days and you can be starting at first light and the guys don't like to be working out on the hill during the heat of the day so they like to be starred in first light and you are going to be doing lots of up and downs fast turns it's all about getting that wood off the hill and down to the staging area so you're up down up down up down it can be hard on your back and your neck because you're hunched over looking out the window all day long because you're you're on the end of a long line um and if you do have motion sickness as a co-pilot do not do this job um i knew one guy that went in and he lasted two days and he's like i'm out i can't do it and it was very bad for motion sickness but if you can do that you're generally going to start off as a co-pilot work in the right seat because the left seat is usually taken by the flying pilot um it could be a good salary you generally work in tours because you're working out in the middle of nowhere so you're either in a hotel or a camp uh two to four weeks depending on the company you work for but it can be a very very rewarding job and i know a lot of pilots that have got a lot of time bringing wood off a hill so that's the heli logging pilot so coming on from the heli logging pilot is the vertical reference pilot and these are basically pilots that are flying with the long line attached to the bottom of their machine and it's mainly a stars md 500s bell mediums s61s sky cranes kmax those kind of helicopters and you are doing long line work so there's two types here you've got precision long line work and production online work precision long line work is things like construction and moving seismic drills so you're basically acting as a crane so you need to move pieces of equipment two people on the ground and hold it there whilst they assemble it and that kind of thing then you've got production which is things like your heli logging and seismic so seismic is basically you have all this equipment in bags and you need to go and put it out in the field and they want it fast they want it out there fast so precision is using yourself as a crane production is basically just moving stuff point a to point b as fast as you can a lot of this work is in camps and hotels you're usually doing a tour of anywhere from two to four weeks can be long days and i know a few people that have now got back problems from it because they've spent five thousand hours sitting hunched over leaning out of a bubble window or a door but especially for the younger guys it can be really good money but you are going to work for it and but you will rack up hours really really quickly doing it to get into it you generally need quite a bit of experience on a line and it's kind of like that well how do i get experience if i can't get the job and so sometimes you can get a company that will give you a chance and just say here's your line off you go um so it can be tough to break into um but once you've basically got you know a couple hundred hours of long line time and you'll start to get a lot more work come your way so that's the vertical reference pilot okay this next one is heliski pilots and you are basically there to move skiers from the bottom of a mountain back up to the top of the mountain and it's usually people on vacation 407s a stars and bell mediums are the most popular machines for these and you're basically taking the guide and some skiers from the bottom up to the top and they're trying to get you know some serious amount of runs in during the day you know you can be up there doing 30 40 runs in a day if it's nice weather there can be a lot of customer pressure you know when somebody's paid 120 grand for a bell 212 for the week they want to fly and if the weather is bad there's a lot of pressure there so you've got to find the good skiing he'll heli skiing companies that have guides that don't pressure you because there have been a lot of accidents from people flying in whether they shouldn't have because that you need to be good flying in poor weather you need to have good mountain flying skills and you're generally going to be heavy a lot of the time because you need fuel and you're going up in altitude so you've got to check your power margins but it can be very very fun flying the other thing you just have to be aware of though is there can be a lot of helicopters in the vicinity if you've got a ski lodge and you've got six machines flying out there they could all be wanting to fly the same runs if the weather is clear in that area and everywhere else is socked in so um it's good good uh job to do it's obviously very seasonal but i know a lot of the heliski pilots that i know fight fires in their mediums during the summer so they have good year-round work okay this next pilot is a corporate or vip pilot and you've obviously seen these all the time you get the wealthy or the um politicians ambassadors that kind of stuff you know we'll see the president coming in in marine one um so that kind of thing you're not gonna be flying marine one because it's all military but it's the same kind of thing you're usually flying for private owners or companies that own their own machines or you could be flying for a company that leases out the helicopters to two people and two companies you're usually flying in a twin-engine ifr machine and it can be single or dual pilot depends on the contract to be a captain you will usually require your airline transport pilot's certificate and you'll need to usually have some good ifr time behind you can be good pay can be good benefits but you can have situations where you're on call all the time they want you to be ready at the last minute and you can have very demanding customers that are not used to people saying no so you've got to have the backbone to be able to stand up and say sorry we can't do that the weather's not good enough and i know quite a few corporate pilots from when i do my sim training sessions and some of their clients can be very um they make you bite your lip a lot very wealthy people are not used to people saying no to them and usually i've been told the kids are the worst the wealthy kids are basically brats and you just have to smile and not and do your job and so you can be flying in some beautiful locations and there can be lots of ferrying the customer may say hey we're going to our island in the caribbean we want the machine there next week um so now you get to fly the machine from los angeles down to the caribbean so yeah lots of very good stuff um it takes a very um specific kind of person to be a corporate pilot vip pilot i couldn't do it personally but i know a lot of people who have done it and you either love it or you hate it but that's one kind of pilot position okay the offshore pilot we kind of touched on this uh in the uh the low time guys and basically offshore is you're flying people to an offshore platform whether it's oil gas or drilling platform that kind of thing uh you can be flying in single engine machines like long ranges bell 407s and you can be flying all the way up to the dual pilot jewel engine sikorsk gs92s that kind of thing you can be flying in potentially poor weather depending on the machine if you're in a full ifr machine like the s92 weather is going to be down to next to nothing and the cougar guys that fly up in the north east of canada you know they can go down to eighth of a mile to take off for visibility and that is insane um but they go the machines are capable so you can be flying yeah poor weather long legs you're basically driving a bus you're going out there taking guys swapping over bringing guys back and that is probably your shift for the day um so you can be home most nights you've got a good schedule good salary really good training some very good machines good benefits but it can get monotonous and if you get stuck with another pilot that you don't get on with hormone those days can be long so yeah really good machines but you driving a bus okay firefighting pilots are getting a lot more news coverage nowadays we're all seeing the horrendous fires that california is getting now and yeah we've all seen the the machines with the buckets on and the belly tanks dropping water on fires and you can be single pilot or you can be a dual pilot operation and you're generally going to need good experience minimum amount of hours and depending on the country you're flying in there's going to be set standards that you need to be able to prove before you can get on a fire you're going to be away from home a lot staying in hotels and camps because the chances of fire burning every year in your back garden is pretty remote and if it is you don't want to be living there so um going to be long hot days very busy airspace you getting these big campaign fires there's going to be a lot of machines a lot of helicopters a lot of air tankers um you name it it's going to be you've got to have your head on a swivel because a lot of the time you're looking down at your bucket dipping water or um dropping it on the fire it's really good fun flying can be challenging but at the same time you've got to keep your head looking all around and it's seasonal generally depending on you know some companies move down to south america or australia for their fire fighting seasons in our winters so if you get on with those you could be fighting fires year round and you can be doing anything from moving crews you can be bucketing on a fire you can be using a belly tank to suck up water and put it on the fires or you can be tasked to go and survey the fire using thermal imaging cameras flying the perimeter of the fire so that they can map it to get its size every day so there's a lot of variety that you can be doing as a fire fighting pilot but there can also be lots of sitting if you're contracted to an area and it's not burning there you can be sitting there for days weeks months on end with nothing um the other end of the spectrum is you can be flying all day to until you hit your limits um like here in canada we can fly eight hours in the air and that's it we're done we have to call in a day so um you get on a fire you can be doing flying eights all day long so um yeah firefighting pilot good challenging fun um you just need some experience to get into it and that is it guys that is a roundup of just some of the jobs you can do as a helicopter pilot and there's so many things out there that you can do so many different skills so many different environments and there's just such a great diverse array of jobs to pick from so if you're interested in becoming a helicopter pilot get that name put down at the flight school and take that first step i hope you enjoyed this video i hope you found it helpful and if you're thinking about becoming a pilot there is so many jobs that you can do and you may not be able to get those jobs straight out of flight school but it's always nice to have a plan and a goal to try and reach and i hope this video has helped you if you liked it give me a thumbs up it really really helps the channel hit that subscribe button and the notification bell so then you know exactly when my next videos are coming out and uh yeah i've got loads of other great videos so you can check those out here and i'll see you next time
helicopter pilot jobs   18 pilot positions explained

Source : Pilot Teacher