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Does having a Masters give you an edge?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by cjross, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. I keep hearing that the teaching profession will probably be becoming a masters profession and am confused. Does this mean that all teachers will be expected to get a Masters? Does having a masters actually make any difference or does relevant experience count for more? Having looked at masters courses, the cost is really high - is it worth it (apart from a love for learning)?
  2. I'm an NQT so can't speak from the 'employer' perspective but i personally think the masters thing is ridiculous. During my PGCE last year we had to complete 2 masters assignments and all year were encouraged (practically forced!) into completing the rest of the masters credits during the first 2 years of paid teaching. I went along with it and registered for a masters course, thinking those 2 assignments would be a waste if i didn't bother, and we were given a discount on the tuition fees if we registered in our NQT year. Very quickly i found that there was no time to do this at all. I have been struggling this year just to survive as an NQT, the thought of having university work to do on top of everything makes me sick.
    Recently i heard that PGCE students starting Sep 2009 onwards HAVE to complete their masters whether they want to or not. If this is true i think this is far too much pressure on an NQT and i would urge others to take a stand against it. Yes i can see the argument that if every teacher had a masters it would enhance the image of the profession, but if everyone had one it would be standard and so having a masters would not give you an 'edge' at all. I would love to do the masters (as you say, a love for learning) but i seriously think that if you're passionate about your job you should funnel your energies into that. If i was an employer i would rather see a competent and passionate teacher than one with a masters but completely stressed out with workload. Plus- we don't get paid enough!
  3. I agree with igobymanynames,I am in my NQT year too, I did a BA Hons at Manchester, we didn't get any credits towards a masters, but were told that we should pick the masters up in NQT year, because its cheaper , your fresh from uni and still remember everything (yeah right!) I chose not to do it and don't plan to until I am forced! (fingers crossed it wont come to that) There is no way I could do anything else on top of everything else in NQT year! I want to know what having the masters will actually do..... will it help contribute anything to school life? If not I really don't see the point!
  4. I am going to do it. But not because I believe it will get me a post over and above someone else who doesn't have one (although you never know!). I am doing it because I am tired of feeling rubbish at everything all the time at school and (sadly), academic work is something I know I can do well. I enjoy writing as a hobby and even if I don't find this interesting (hopefully I will) there'll be something in it for me at the end. So I would say it is more of a love of learning - plus the fact that it is free - than a wish for career advancement, which I'm not sure the Masters would help with, that I am doing it. I may live to regret it.....!
  5. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I have half a masters from my PGCE. I've been busy so far in my NQT year, but I think I'm getting more of a balance between work and home life, so I'd be interested in starting the rest of my MA part-time in September. I can do it in an area I specialise in and would really enjoy it.
    That said, I don't believe teaching should be a Masters level profession. I had fabulous teachers at school and I doubt any of them had more than a teaching certificate. If the Government really want teachers to all have Masters degrees then they need to pay us more and reduce our load of paperwork. Until then, it should be the choice of the teacher.
  6. I think having a MA would help if you worked overseas. But to be honest unless you want to specialise in an area does it really help? I'd love to get a Ma in Early Child Education instead!

  7. I have Masters gained in my home country. I also completed PGCE in England. Unfortunatelly I was not able to find a job in a primary school setting. I feel based on my own experience that treaching experience is the only thing that mattters when applying for a job. Now I wish I never went to university but graduated while working as an unqualified teacher.
  8. JeanL

    JeanL New commenter

    I also thought having an MA would help me get a good job. In the US, you can do an MEd in two years, one year longer than a PGCE, so I did it. I can't immagine having to do part of it during an NQT year, though! I worked at least 50 hours a week my first year of teaching because so much was new! I chose to do an MEd instead of just a PGCE on top of my BA because I thought it would give me an edge over other candidates, especially when working outside the US where as a foreigner I might not be first choice. Also, the subject areas I teach (English) are not what I did my BA in (Psychology & German) so I thought an MA might be good compensation. We'll see if my theory holds water, I'm just starting to look for jobs in the UK now.

    In any event, I am proud of myself for finishing such a huge project as an MA!
  9. Ignore the university, they want you to do the Masters with them since they will be able to take even more of your money and leave you in debt for longer. The other reason being they want you to complete their masters rather than that of the nearest university to where you end up working.
    If a masters were to become mandatory they would have to make it free anyway as few people would be willing to spend an additional £8,000+ for the opportunity to apply for a job paying £20k a year. Also if everyone in the teaching profession has one then the qualification itself becomes worthless.
    You may also find that the school you end up in can offer free modules from your local Uni, especially if they are a training school for that Uni.
    Complete Masters because you desire the challenge or enjoy research and little pieces of paper with your name on them... but your study is unlikely to make any real impact on your career.
  10. I would say that depends on what career you would like to have. If you wanted to stay as a Primary teacher then sure..if you wanted to specialise in a field and develop your skills further then a MA or further would make sense to me.

    But an MA in Education as a class teacher makes no sense for me personally...waste of time and money.
  11. I am an Early Years and SEN specialist, I have an MA in Art Ed. I did it because I wanted to learn. This should be your only reason for such an undertaking. It may have helped me in my career but I don't think so.
    Not a waste of time or money for me, I undertook it whilst teaching full time and enjoyed it. I value education highly and as a result of the M.A. I am a better educated person.
  12. Sound like this Masters in Teaching & Learning is just going to be a souped up PGCE: i.e. not a Masters level degree at all. Masters study should involve a pretty intense infusion of critical reading and critical writing, plus some research. And the ability to justify your ideas and to criticize or support those of others. It's an intellectual pursuit. Those skills are vital for a good teacher, especially in staff meetings when the latest half-***** initiative is thrown at you, and when you want to evaluate and improve your own teaching.
  13. Hi, in Australia they are moving in the direction of Masters of Teaching which is a jazzed up DipEd - equivalent of the PGCE. When I did my BTeach it was a ''graduate" degree in teaching and took two years as opposed to my colleagues in the DipEd stream. That was 5 years ago. I wish in a way I did the DipEd to get out there faster in a school, rather than my sucky love of being in uni again (had a break from my BA till Bteach) I did points towards a Masters (MEd) specialising in technology in education, and whilst interesting, didn't have much bearing on teaching in the UK. Looks nice on the Cv. I've since been toying for the past 3 years in doing my MEd, but my thinking of late, after talking to some colleagues etc is that to undertake a Masters is more about doing it for the joy of learning, rather than thinking it really benefits the career. Have a friend who is in the throes of his final subjects and thesis for his Masters (MEd) and he just is sick of it, hates it, but hopes it will benefit his career. No doubt it will, but it was a hard slog for him. I should note that i teach in Europe now at an international school, and my friend believes that many international schools value a Masters. Dunno. Just my 2 cents worth, hope it helps clarify your thinking. [​IMG]
  14. I should add a couple points - i'd love to study in the UK for a masters but being a foreign student puts it completely out of the question. Also too my thinking is towards a MA in my subject area - History as opposed to a Masters specialising in Education. Finally, my big sister is doing a MA in Linguistics as a TEFL teacher in Asia. She says it's helped her work and maybe will benefit her career, but is interesting for her. Again the drag of doing it is taking a toll on her.
  15. Hi everyone
    I am in my 3rd year of teaching EYFS and am doing MA Professional Developent - Early Childhood Studies part time (6 saturdays per year paid for by myself). Did GTP (with no MA credits), completed induction year and got 1 module of first year of MA free. This is my 2nd year of MA and complete next year with a dissertation.
    The answer is YES it does - I have been able to achieve far more because I can put a really good argument together (skills I have picked up on MA) and can produce research to back my ideas up - I also get a LOT of respect from other teachers who don't know how I manage. Key is to choose modules and assignments that are things that need looking at in school - my PDP has been a breeze since everything overlaps. After saying that it does take up time but in my case has been worth it, I feel more confident and secure in what I am doing.
    Good luck to anybody who has a go!

  16. Just to clarify a couple of points - the MTL is completely free for NQTs in NW England (and a few other categories of people), and you start it towards the end of your NQT year, assuming you had a full-time post since Sept. However, you can do it as long as you have started in a school now, even if you are part time. The school is paid to provide supply cover for you and the mentor, so it shouldn't cost anything for you or the school.
    I have enrolled on it, although I don't know whether it will all be worthwhile or whether I will, pardon the pun, stay the course. I have a 'real' masters in another subject (nothing to do with teaching), 2 years full time in Uni 20 years ago, and this MTL does sound a bit light on academic critique, and heavy on reflecting on and improving practice, but surely that is a good thing?
    There is no intention of making existing teachers get a Masters, as I understand it, and I doubt it will give anyone an upper hand in getting jobs per se. However, if it makes you a better teacher, that obviously would help you get jobs over people without the MTL.
    It all sounds a bit like a recipe for chaos, though, being the first cohort on a new course. For that reason, I am doing it at another uni from my PGCE one, because they couldn't organise a proverbial in a brewery even on an established course, so God knows the fiasco they will make of the MTL.
  17. I'm doing an MA at the moment, in my NQT year, having got credits making up 1/2 of it last year. Finishing the other half over two years, and my institution is very sympathetic to workload pressures. I think its a good thing (obviously, otherwise why would i bother?) but don't think anyone should feel they have to - it would be hard work if you didnt enjoy it.
    Certainly although my school are 'officially' supportive, in practice they seem to think MAs dont make good teachers and that it could ditract from school work, which i find galling as I've found it makes me more enthusiastic about teaching and feel more like i'm going somewhere with the job.
    So basically I'm doing it for me, its really boosted my self esteem and gives me space to reflect on my teaching away from school, and bounce ideas off teachers from lots of other schools. I don't think it's helpful for people who don't have an interest in doing it to make comments about it being worthless, as clearly so far for me it hasn't been, and most on my course are enjoying it too. What's wrong with seeing yourself as more than a classroom teacher, and pushing yourself? Don't see how it could hurt as long as you dont resent it or expect to magically earn more or get a promotion on the basis of it.
  18. newyorkdoll

    newyorkdoll New commenter

    Waste of time !!!! You're either a good teacher or you're not. I nearly killed myself working like a dog on meaningless masters level assigments in my PGCE year.....and I really don't know why. I really can't see it giving you an edge over another teacher.....at the end of the day they will hire you dependent on how your taught lesson goes in the classroom at interview & whether the kids responded well to you.
    I fail to understand the obsession with qualifications.....when what schools should be obsessing about is supporting teachers with workload, and teaching style....e.g. engaging kids and making tehm WANT to come to school ready to learn....not go through the motions.

  19. Indeed....and how can a 'Masters' level GTP assignment be 'graded' by teachers/TM's/Subject Leaders without a Masters themselves!!
  20. I completely agree: Masters are for meeting personal learning goals!

    I'm into my 2nd Year of teaching now and am starting to think about completing the masters that I have credits towards- from the PGCE. Does anyone know how long you have until the masters-level credits from the PGCE run out???

    Also, has anyone done the Ed Psyc MA at the Institute of education? I did the PGCE there and was wondering about support; Is there increase 1:1 tutor time at MA level? Is it any good?

    P.S. I would NOT advise doing a masters instead of getting a teaching job straight after the PGCE. If you can't get a job straight away do SUPPLY TEACHING- that's what I did. And/Or, if you know a school that you want to work at, get a job as a Teaching Assistant. Private schools are particularly keen to employ qualified teachers (Even NQTs) as TAs, and they'll be likely to give you enough teaching opportunities to complete the NQT year (that's what I did!) It was quite a breezy NQT year for me! And I was offered a form tutor post at the end of it. Perfect!

    Good luck!

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