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General Value of a Masters in Teaching in Japan and elsewhere

Mikeru

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I previously started a thread in jref last year about my queries regarding teaching EFL in Japan and after consideration, I do think I can teach EFL for 3 years all fine in Japan or move out to teach in other EFL-demand-high countries and am still inclined to do it as my first career.

However, my parents, peers and ex-school staff emphasize heavily on having a 1-2 backup or switch-out careers and pick a degree course related to those careers instead of English/Teaching, since it is not needed to be competitive for EFL jobs in Japan. One of these backup careers is a job in media and communication, but I have not thought in depth about that and the second backup career though. Basically the university that I am attending allows me to choose two different courses of study and I am debating whether to select English as one of them.

Currently I am not inclined to study English and already have Business and Communications as the other 2 courses in mind, as English does not have much direct application in the job market of my country and it is not a sufficiently recognized degree for me to move on to getting a teaching diploma to teach in a public school in my country. However, I feel that if I do enjoy my EFL stint enough, I might want to move on to higher-level teaching, and given my current qualifications, studying English as a major followed by EFL work experience and CELTA seems to be the most relevant and competitive way of getting to getting a Masters in Teaching. I feel quite inspired by how those working as an ALT/eikaiwa are encouraged to move on to either teaching at university jobs or opening their own language school, and the increment in pay upon moving to Uni level.

The issues stopping me here are i. cost and ii. what my family perceives to be too much lineation and effort for a limited career opportunity.
I cannot seem to prove to my parents as I am still not in the workforce and their general perception is that a Masters is expensive and doesn't seem to open much more opportunites, and they do not seem to be very favourable of letting me customize my university plans just to raise the chances of me being able to get a teaching job overseas.
For where I will be taking the Masters in Teaching, I am looking at the 3 universities in my country that offer it, or the universities in Japan and America.

Assuming I do enter EFL and if I am based in JP by then, I should be able to get a scholarship and I heard around that one should obtain a scholarship for study in JP as far as possible. In this case, how important is relevant major/degree as a whole when applying for a Masters and scholarship in JP to study it, as well as the recognition of the Bachelor's degree used to apply for it? Also, besides being able to teach in a university, what other pertinent applications are there in having a Masters in Teaching?
 

Glenski

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I'm not going to look up your previous posts, so forgive me if anything is repeated.

A Singaporean teaching English in Japan is possible, but you are not considered as a native English speaker, so it will be more difficult. True, any major is sufficient to get a work visa for entry level teaching jobs here, but as for being competitive, a degree closer to the job field would be better. That most certainly holds for masters degrees and university work! For uni work, you also pretty much have to demonstrate 3-5 professional publications as well, even for part-time work.

I don't know whether there is actually a Masters in Teaching degree. The teaching-related majors I have seen most often here for master's holders is an MA in linguistics or English or literature, sometimes even TESOL/TEFL/TESL.

I do think I can teach EFL for 3 years all fine in Japan or move out to teach in other EFL-demand-high countries and am still inclined to do it as my first career.

Currently I am not inclined to study English and already have Business and Communications as the other 2 courses in mind, as English does not have much direct application in the job market of my country
These two statements seem contradictory to me. Why do you want to teach English for 3 years and then stop to take on a career in Business and Communications? A 3-year gap in your current field may not look so good on a resume. Help me to understand your thinking.

The issues stopping me here are i. cost and ii. what my family perceives to be too much lineation and effort for a limited career opportunity.
Cost.
What cost? Are you thinking that a master's is only relevant for teaching in Japan? (It's not.)

Family perceptions.
Pardon me, but why do you place such emphasis on them? Think for yourself.
 

Mikeru

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I would prefer forsaking an amount of competitiveness to prepare for my backup plan instead when it comes to making my decision for the degree, which is why I prefer not to take it. I asked the above OP somewhere else and there are some who advised me to study the other 2 subjects that I have in mind since it is possible to apply for a MAT by combining an unrelated degree and teaching experience, and they approve that I sync my uni plans for a backup career instead.

When I say MAT Im referring to a MA in education-related topics in general.

Whether or not do I take the break from teaching will be decided later. But I'm trying to look at the what-ifs for as far as I can forsee into the future, like past the mid-career age, and the "what-if" if I don't get the EFL job or cant continue positively after a few years. At least I have another skill set to remain employable.

I'm not saying that a MA is only relevant in JP and like I said, I've considered moving to other countries afterwards. The cost issue is on 3 counts:
i. Generally any degree that is private or DL is significantly more expensive than a degree programme in a local university or a government-supported part time study and the general estimated cost of studying these "more expensive degrees" can be anywhere from 2-6x of the cost of the cheaper alternative. Of the 3 MATs I can study locally, the 2 that are easier to enter charge more fees, whereas the chances that I can enter the 3rd one is low due to the selection criteria as explained in ii. So based on this logic, my parents would find it less cost-effective to study somewhere that is not local or govt-funded. If I do an MA in JP I believe I can get a scholarship from the 2 main bodies that offer it, again, I am not sure of the success rate that I can get these scholarships.
ii. Many of the locals that I speak to about my career plans still advise me to evaluate my future education based on the job market and entry requirements in Singapore, much as I am confident I can access 1-3 EFL countries easily if I put in the effort. Along this line of thought, a MAT alone is not sufficient in landing public school teaching jobs as every applicant must still be put through the selection criteria for the sole Teaching Diploma available in Singapore, which has a natural disadvantage for those who did not get near-perfect grades for national examminations previously and those who did not choose the option of studying the Teaching Diploma as a degree with internship. To this end, the MAT alone, appears to not be worth to cost.
iii. Degree recognition is still a big thing in Singapore as there is a general perception that local uni programmes > all other programmes from elsewhere, more so in the civil service which teaching/education is a part of. At such, if I study a MAT outside Singapore, it may not see much recognition and career applicability here. The degree recognition issue is also partly why I am still a bit skeptical of distance learning and online degrees/MA programmes in general.

As for the family part, I feel that their decision is less important than the importance of a backup plan, in the relative scale of things. For the rest of the post I will inadvertently speak in a more personal tone:
My family in quite conservative and they have been quite staunch and skeptical about EFL jobs and due to their age and desire for us to be physically in the same country, and they have a xenophobia and awareness-lack (which can be reduced to some extent but I feel cant be eradicated completely) towards education and job markets overseas. I generally only started looking into EFL and various jobs abroad roughly 10 months ago and there have been a number of number of serious quarrels I have gotten with them regarding moving overseas since then, and again, the general advice that I receive from 90% of the people around me is that I have to take into account these considerations and not attempt to rebel against them or use any other more "powerful" methods to convince them.
 

Glenski

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Many of the locals that I speak to about my career plans still advise me to evaluate my future education based on the job market and entry requirements in Singapore, much as I am confident I can access 1-3 EFL countries easily if I put in the effort. Along this line of thought, a MAT alone is not sufficient in landing public school teaching jobs as every applicant must still be put through the selection criteria for the sole Teaching Diploma available in Singapore, which has a natural disadvantage for those who did not get near-perfect grades for national examminations previously and those who did not choose the option of studying the Teaching Diploma as a degree with internship. To this end, the MAT alone, appears to not be worth to cost.
It sounds to me like you'd be wasting your time teaching English in Japan. Get the requirements for what you need to work (teach) in Singapore instead.
 
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