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First degree mismatch - how big of a problem is it?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by venny414, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. venny414

    venny414 New commenter

    Hi all,

    So 2019 is finally here and I've begun my search for international teaching jobs. Having done quite a bit of research I've begun to notice a lot of people talking about first degree mismatch. I know this is a particular issue in the Middle East, especially in the UAE, but I wanted to find out how much of an issue this is globally.

    If I may indulge my individual position for advice -

    BA in Philosophy, MA in Political Theory, PGCE Religious Studies, 7 years teaching experience in a range of different subjects such as RE, Philosophy, History, Geography, Law, Psychology, Head of Department for 2 years. I would be more than happy to teach and therefore apply for jobs in any of these subjects.

    Essentially, could someone enlighten me please -

    1) Do I rule out the Middle East entirely for any jobs others than 'Philosophy' (which there don't seem to be any)? Or can I apply for jobs such as Islamic Studies, Religious Studies etc?

    2) Are there any countries in the Middle East where the degree mismatch isn't necessarily a problem? There's a job in Bahrain I have thought about applying for.

    3) How global is the issue - are there any countries I should not bother looking into because of a first degree mismatch issue?

    4) Having experience teaching the above subjects, what kind of subjects can I apply for when it comes to international jobs. For example, can I apply for a Humanities position even though my degree is in Philosophy? I would be more than happy to do that in the UK, does it work very much the same way abroad?

    Thanks for your help everyone - this forum has been a great read. Some really informative people on here!
     
  2. 576

    576 Established commenter

    It can be problematic in Kenya maybe. I know someone had issues getting a work permit for a secondary position as their pgce is primary.

    I'd rule out Islamic studies unless you are a Muslim.
     
    venny414 likes this.
  3. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The Religious Studies aspect may be your biggest issue. Not much call for that subject in the ME, China or any country where Islam is the priority religion.

    Highlight PHSE and student counseling for China.
     
    venny414 likes this.
  4. venny414

    venny414 New commenter

    This had crossed my mind. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  5. venny414

    venny414 New commenter

    Those have been my thoughts too, which is why over the last three years especially I’ve been teaching as much Humanities, History and Geography as I could (up to A level). Would that be enough experience for me to apply for Humanities jobs, or would the fact I’m an RE specialist go against me?
     
  6. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Your experience would be the minimum required, but I would be looking at Asia and not the ME.
     
  7. venny414

    venny414 New commenter

    Thanks for your advice - I will shift my focus there :)
     
  8. Morena123

    Morena123 New commenter

    It wouldn't be a problem in lots of schools in Thailand and is definitely not a visa issue. Highlight your Humanities experience but also your willingness to be a 'generalist' and flexible. Smaller schools in particular would be keen on this.

    Recent/current UK curriculum experience is usually well-regarded here, though of course so is experience teaching kids of varied backgrounds/cultures so if you have any experience teaching kids with EAL needs then refer to this in CV and cover letter. If you apply to IB schools without IB experience, make sure you read up on the IB and push that you are keen on the system. With your background, an IB school might really work. Also check out Global Perspectives if youn haven't taught it before, that might be of interest.

    I teach English here without an English degree (though I am studying for one on the side) and with very limited English teaching experience. I was a Classicist in a former life. Some schools would no doubt have been put off by this but I had a decent enough amount of interviews and 2 good offers when I started applying.

    The fact you have an MA would also be favoured by some schools as they like highly-educated staff and it suggests you're interested in your own ongoing learning etc.

    Obviously this is only my experience and schools vary widely but I would certainly imagine there are good options available to you in Asia.

    Best of luck!
     
  9. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Mismatch of subject qualification and job spec/contract can be a problem in UAE. My Secondary Degree course certificate was in 'Education Studies' and did not mention my subject - despite spending all 3 years of it studying and practising my subject.

    In addition, all 27 years teaching had been in Secondary Schools, teaching my subject as a teacher and HoD.
    I had to get letters of confirmation from previous employers as well as the University where I did the Degree.
    Took about 6 months to resolve in all.

    So the moral of the story is to check with your potential employer so that, if sh-1-t happens, you are covered.
     
    venny414 likes this.
  10. venny414

    venny414 New commenter

    Thanks so much for your advice @Morena123 This has given me a lot to think about!
     
    Morena123 likes this.
  11. Morena123

    Morena123 New commenter

    Venny - there are at least a couple of Humanities jobs that might be of interest at the mo - one in Thailand. Take a look! Good luck
     

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