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Should I do my Masters??? Please give opinions!

(15 Posts)
andwhatnow Wed 01-Jul-15 09:49:01

Please could you give me your opinions on possibly doing my Masters. I am a Deputy Head (but do not particularly have aspirations to become a headteacher!). I did my degree in English Language and now have an 'itch' for further study. I have a strong interest in teaching ESL and would strongly consider teaching abroad in approximately five years time (when my son is an adult!). I have done a bit of research over quite a few weeks and finally settled on a distance MA in Portsmouth in TESOL and Applied Linguistics. I applied and a day later had an unconditional offer! I expected to have to wait several weeks to hear and it has come all of a sudden. I am now just making final considerations before confirming my place due to my ever cautious nature and the commitment I would be making! I am considering the following:

reasons for..... I have an urge to learn more/specialise in this area, I am hoping this qualification will help me in my quest to teach abroad in the future, I will be able to continue working full time as it is a distance course, I have a feeling I will regret NOT doing it in the future

reasons against....how much will it really help my career? Will I able to fit it in? Cost - I think the cost is pretty realistic (the whole thing would cost about £4K) but it is obviously a consideration.

What do you all think? If I aspired to be a head, I think my career path would be pretty much set out, but my gut feeling is that I want to teach more and teach in a specialised area in years to come.

Opinions appreciated! x

AliceInSandwichLand Wed 01-Jul-15 11:54:17

My SIL is a special needs teacher and did a Masters in Education with some sort of emphasis on special needs (am not sure of the details). She was the only one to finish and obtain the degree; everyone else dropped out along the way. She did very well but found the process very hard. I think she found it personally fulfilling but not particularly advantageous professionally, IIRC.

I am half way through a part time MA in history at the age of 50, having last studied history when I was 16. I have found it much more challenging than I anticipated but also much more significant. At this point, I am very glad I've been doing it, although there have been moments along the way when I have have questioned my sanity. Whether it ends up being of any career usefulness remains to be seen. Certainly I have had to be very motivated indeed to juggle it along with everything else, especially as I am the only one doing part time. If yours is designed as distance learning, with everyone else doing the same, that would have pros and cons, I imagine - less community but more people in the same boat. Good luck with the decision.

FinallyHere Wed 01-Jul-15 12:00:41

I love the learning process, and forget every time how hard it can be, so would encourage you to go for it.

How much do you know about the institution you have chosen, though. It can be frustrating to be trying to learn in a disorganised place, or one where the majority of resources are targeted at a different course.

Hope it goes well for you

andwhatnow Wed 01-Jul-15 16:20:51

It is a hard decision.

Its at Portsmouth University which seems to have decent reviews.

Impostersyndrome Thu 02-Jul-15 09:38:29

Hello OP - for what it's worth, as a Master's course leader in a completely different area, I'd be very hesitant about doing a distance learning course. Master's level study is tough, especially mid-career and to do it without the support of your peers makes for greater challenges. Have a close look at how learning is supported. On-line fora are all very well, but dependent on how well they're managed (and the quality of the contributors). Have a look at the quality of the department and the course leaders themselves (do you rate their publication record or practical experience or whatever it is that is of importance to you?), rather than Portsmouth University.

How much contact time is there at the university itself? If the distance learning is tempered by, say, intensive weeks of study there, that'd be a much more positive arrangement.

andwhatnow Thu 02-Jul-15 10:19:47

Thank you Impostersyndrome. I see where you are coming from. The course is entirely online. I have read some publications from two of the course leaders which are of great interest but I do see what you mean about the other areas of concern. I so want to do it, but distance I think, is my only option due to full time work. Aaaaah!!

Impostersyndrome Thu 02-Jul-15 17:34:29

There are other options if your employer supports it. A colleague of mine runs a course specifically aimed at mid career professionals, with intensive weeks of study, coupled with managed study weekends. If I were you I'd, at the very least, dig a bit deeper. Did they interview you? Could you ask to see a sample dissertation or two? That'd give you an idea of the quality of work.

What about the OU? They're set up for distance learning and are set up accordingly.

mrsmortis Mon 06-Jul-15 16:08:21

I am in my second semester of a distance learning MBA. I love learning and I am finding it really interesting but you need to be realistic about the amount of work that it will entail. Can you commit 12 - 16 hours a week to this? Especially considering that you won't have the same level of support (and motivation) that someone studying face to face will have.

If you are unsure of your ability to manage distance learning have a look at edx.org or futurelearn.co.uk for a whole load of free university level courses that you can do whenever you like. If you can complete a couple of those then you will know that you can manage it. And you still get to learn something cool!

mmmminx Tue 07-Jul-15 09:30:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

andwhatnow Tue 07-Jul-15 21:01:29

Thank you for all of your replies. Mrs mortis, yes 12 to 16 hours is quite a big commitment! And mmmminx, you are right....I would be happy to teach in an international school abroad as well as teaching EFL so I do see that I am already qualified suitably to do this.

I feel so stuck....I feel that I do want to do additional learning and my 'passion' is English. I spoke to an Open University post grad advisor who was fantastic. She really talked over some different options with me and reignited my passion in English which leads me back to my original idea of an English Masters. And this leads me on to......is this worth it??? Will it help my career?? I am so tied about what to do!

mmmminx Tue 07-Jul-15 21:34:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

andwhatnow Tue 07-Jul-15 21:55:16

That's a idea mmmminx. My initial idea apart from the English masters, was the Education MA with a focus on applied linguistics. I then started going down the TESOL route which quite a few universities offer distance learning and then got stuck!! I shall have a look.

GinUpGirl Tue 07-Jul-15 21:57:08

It sounds great! I'd love to do another masters!

andwhatnow Tue 07-Jul-15 22:18:46

What is your masters in Ginupgirl?

GinUpGirl Wed 08-Jul-15 18:58:33

Arabic translation!

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