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Does having an MA in English Lit benefit teaching prospects in any way?

Discussion in 'English' started by vthompson977, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. I've been teaching for 5 years and have just enrolled in a MEd despite always saying I would do a MA in English Lit or nothing else. My reasons are simple! I love English Lit, but I teach 11-16 English Language so it is not that relevant to my career, compared to a MEd which covers a wider range of school-related issues. I also worry that the time needed to complete a MA would infringe upon my job and already stretched free time - at least with the MEd a lot of it is work based. Then there's the cost.... (whereas the MEd is subsidised...)
    Now, you haven't started teaching yet which means you probably have fewer restrictions. If you love Lit and can afford it, do it. It won't damage your prospects at all and in fact it *may* help you get onto a PGCE course. I know that in NI PGCE's are heavily oversubscribed. I know of people doing a MEd to get on to the PGCE and it is proving VERY difficult for them as they don't have the experience needed (unless you're a qualified teacher you can't teach here). But I'd agree with thequillguy - it probably won't impress on a CV.
    Remember, the knowledge and insight you are used to from your MA will be a stark contrast to the pupils you teach. I never thought I would spend most of my days teaching children to use capital letters; i had dreams of discussing the meaning of texts with people who loved my subject! Naive, but a reflection of my school experience!! Think carefully about where you want your career to go and specifically what level you want to teach at - it might have a bearing on your decision.
    All else fails, if you can afford it, do it - it'll only get more expensive!

  2. Clarerees

    Clarerees New commenter

    I have an MA in Lit and have was given an additional point on the payscale because of it (in my state school). I loved it and feel that it has helped my personal development. But has it been useful in my teaching? Probably not.
    When I read (and fill them in myself) application forms, I know that it looks very good on the 'subject knowledge' section, so I think that it does impress people. However, I'm not sure how much of an advantage that would give you over somebody who goes straight into a PGCE.
    I am now studying for an MEd which I feel has had far more of an obvious impact on my teaching. It has helped me in a number of different areas (made me quite depressed about assessment, mind) but, again, I'm not sure that I'd particularly notice it when looking at somebody else's application form.

  3. manc

    manc New commenter

    Really? Then it is seriously to be hoped that you are never in a position to shortlist candidates!
  4. I am currently studying for an MA in children's lit and it has definitely helped me in terms of getting a job in a 'good' school. Mostly I think this is about me proving academic rigour and that I can be bothered to apply myself to learning at my age. I have also found that it informs my sixth form teaching, as I throw ideas at them that I've picked up on my course for discussion. My university is one of the best ones for my course with the tutors at the cutting edge of the subject - I'm glad that I picked the provider I did rather than going just anywhere for my MA.
  5. manc

    manc New commenter

    My university was less cutting edge than 'comfortable easy chair'.
  6. I have MA in Lit and really enjoyed it. Studied part time with the OU just for the sheer hell of it before I actually even thought of going into teaching.
    I am currently studying for the MA Education. I find this interesting but can't honestly say I enjoy it as much as I did the Lit MA.
  7. thebigonion

    thebigonion New commenter

    I was at a seminar the other week where they'd analysed the difference that different things make; an MA makes a teacher about 5% more productive - it's less important than experience, for example...
    I did am MA in educational leadership, which (I'm assuming) got me my job at the LA, which has since got me my job as an AHT. So, obviously it can have benefits -but then, I never did ask my boss if my MA impressed him - everyone in the office had them, apart from the two with PhDs...
    That said, do it if you love it.
  8. Thanks so much everyone for your replies! Very useful indeed [​IMG] I get the impression that no the MA in Lit probably wont affect my career that much but I'm still interested for personal reasons of enjoyment and enhancing my learning. I know for certain that I want to teach secondary and AS/A level rather than primary from the experience I've had so far with those different age ranges so I think having an MA could well be useful for college level, as somebody else pointed out in their post. What I'm thinking now is that I should do the MA in Lit this year because...I'll probably always want to do it and once I've done my PGCE or GTP and into teaching, the MA in education is something I could think about then.
  9. Asta9

    Asta9 New commenter

    Similarly to what others have said, my MA in Eng Lit probably helped me get a job in my lovely grammar school. I know they are bothered about qualifications, favouring Oxbridge candidates most highly, and those with Phds or masters degrees. I also agree it helps little, if at all, with the job itself (maybe slightly when teaching A level at this kind of school).
    I enjoyed doing the MA a lot- much more than my first degree! Hope you do too.

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