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Advice from experienced teacher re value of Masters?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by angelatreneman, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Hi, I am a NQT and am wondering whether to undertake a Masters whilst doing my NQT year? It is being offered at a greatly reduced rate if I do - so it is kind of now or never for me! I am 43 years old, have 3 older children, do LOVE researching etc, but don't know if it would be too onerous? I guess my main questions are:
    Is it worth it? Is it valued? Is it necessary? Also, I have not come in to teaching in order to 'move quickly up the ladder' - not what I'm interested in. I would be doing it in order to increase my knowledge of how children learn best etc Any words of wisdom from others appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    It will be hard work when combined with your NQT year but it really depends how much you are willing to give up work life balance for a short time. Doing a MAisn't going to guarantee moving up the ladder (quickly or not) and not necessarily greatly valued in primary.
  3. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I think this would be huge undertaking during your NQT year, especially if you have family commitments also.
    I am just completing my MA and have found the reading, researching etc very interesting but writing the assignments has been a real challenge ... probably because it is so many years since I had to do any academic writing! I don't think it will be of much benefit at this stage of my career (teaching for 33 years) but I wish I had done this years ago as I have learnt a huge amount that will influence my practice in the future.
    If you have an understanding family who are prepared to manage for the duration you might be able to do it. Are you planning to complete it in a year? I didn't think this was possible if you are working as well. It has taken me 2 years and it has still been a struggle to fit everything in and I have no children at home anymore!
    Good luck, whatever you decide
  4. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    I'd leave it for this year. It's a lot to take on, and you do not yet realise just HOW tired you will get during your NQT year.
  5. I did it in my nqt year and second year of teaching and I was fine!
  6. Will you have to attend MA sessions during school hours? If so, this may be difficult for your school to allow unless already discussed and agreed. I mentored an NQT a few years ago who started an MA and expected to attend uni as well as have PPA and NQT time. She didn't discuss this with school before enrolling which we were disappointed with. Unfortunately the NQT was unable to do both her MA and NQT year well so was released from her contract at her request.
  7. I did my final MA year during my NQT year. Yes, it's a big workload, but not unsurmountable. I also have a family and a long commute to both school and university.
    I personally found the MA very rewarding. It has had a very positive impact on my classroom practice, and has meant that I have read far more widely around my specialism than I ever would have done if I'd not taken on the course.
    It didn't impact on school time at all. But, my head teacher has been particularly uninterested in the whole thing. I don't think he could care less that I've just passed with flying colours - despite the fact that I carried out most of my research with pupils in his school. I asked him if he would like to read my findings, and he said no.
    I too have entered teaching later in life, but I am keen to progress up the ladder. I'm not sure if my MA will help me in this or not - only time will tell.
    If I had my time again, would I consider finishing my MA in my NQT year? Yes, of course. It's not impossible, and in many ways, I can start to relax now!
    My advice is go for it!
  8. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    Well, I looked into doing a masters this year in my FOURTH year of teaching. I gathered from people here that you shouldn't do it with any thoughts of progressing in your career, and do it for a love of learning and wanting to develop as a teacher.

    I am thinking it will be too much work in my fourth year, let alone my NQT year. The NQT year is very, very hard work, if you did a PGCE- double the work load because you're suddenly on your own! I wouldn't do it, but then you need to ask yourself if because it's cheaper it's worth it, and also whether you can actually put in the time and effort it requires and do it justice.
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Lots of people do, so if you are keen and organised there is no reason why you shouldn't.

    If you are happy to put in the time needed and want a masters, which will help you if you ever want a post in an independent school or want to become a HT (though in neither case is it crucial, just a bonus) then go for it.
  10. I'm not experienced, I'll be starting my NQT year this September too. I have enrolled on a three year Masters course, which starts this October. I chose the course because the modules were the exact topics I would choose as my 'ideal' areas of interest but also because it is run at weekends (Fri pm- Sat pm) as it is designed for practicing teachers. They also set assignments to be in at the begining of September, so they can be written up during the summer holidays. The Uni estimates the commitment to be around 2 hours a week, so hardly huge in term time.
    If the course had needed weekly attendance or had assignments due often in term time then I would probably not have chosen to run my NQT year and Masters together.
  11. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    What uni is this?! I'm sure the ones I looked at wanted anything up to 15 hours study a week!
  12. It takes about 2 hours to read each research paper!
    Mine certainly made my own teaching better as I felt I became more reflective. It helps you learn to question everything. A better insight into areas of study helps you gain confidence and become more successful in the classroom.
    As for career development - no. Unless your Masters is in leadership and management. All that happened for me is that people saw it on my CV and showed minor interest at interview. I can't say that it landed me any of my jobs.
    If you want to be a better teacher, do it. If you want to climb the ladder, devote time to projects and improvement in your own school. I would not recommend NQT year, but the year after was when I did mine.
    Good luck!
  13. Oxford. Masters in Learning and Teaching, 3 years. There are big differences in the way courses are put together - some need loads of attendance, others it is self directed study.
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Eeekk! I think that might be the one I'm looking at as a vague possibility. Much of it seems to be more or less what you would be doing anyway. Best of Luck!
  15. They are still open for applications starting this year Minnieminx! The course is perfect for me because of the modules I would choose and because I get to specialise in Maths - I did have to wait and get the maths group to accept me - apparently no primary teacher had ever asked to be part of the maths group - they always end up in English!!
  16. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'm not doing it this year, I would choose maths as well. I'm doing the MaST thing from Reading, but have my eye on the Oxford one for later.

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