Signup date: 07 Jun 2014 at 9:28am
Last login: 20 Jul 2022 at 9:24pm
Post count: 84
As someone in their thirties currently looking to embark on a phd, I would say do one when you're younger. There's more to consider when you're older - partner, kids, mortgage, aged parents. The danger with working is, you get used to the money. Time moves pretty fast. I did my degree, lived abroad, tried one career, then another, found a job I liked and stayed in that whilst doing my masters part time etc. That's a lot of years gone when really, I think I should have done it sooner. Everyone's different though.
No worries! Re second paragraph, not sure to be honest. I mean, you already have an MA and MSc. Plus your PgDip. Next? I wouldn't like to say. I guess if you have a passion for psychology go for it but personally I'd start saving for your PhD, having 'done' M-level.
I totally see where you're coming from in terms of loving study though. Did my first degree years ago. Worked for a couple of years in a boring office job, felt my brain shrinking, then I think half the reason for my doing a PGCE was just to do some more study. The happiest three years of my life were when I was doing my Masters on top of doing my current job. Sad eh? Although I did manage a life in between, I promise.
Now I'm split between doing either a PhD in English or doing an EdD. But then, I think it's important to find a balance and not rush into things. Hence I've had a break, just to see what comes along, and as it turns out, through my PGCE mentoring, I've just discovered that the uni are looking to take on some Associate Lecturers in Education (hourly paid) and all they need is a higher degree (Masters) and professional experience. A doctorate is just a 'desireable'. So I'm applying for that and crossing my fingers.
The moral of the story being (whether I get an interview or not), sometimes getting more expensive qualifications isn't the only way, and just being available and experienced is enough - provided there's a need.
Sure. I would prioritize getting the level 5 if anything as that's PGCE equivalent. Don't just wait for advertised jobs either, write to heads of department in all your local colleges and offer yourself up for long term cover / supply posts as budgets mean many colleges like to avoid using agencies. It's not as hard to get in as you think. And it's a nice place to be for people who are academically inclined. So far I've managed a masters on the job, am working with my local uni to mentor PGCE students, and like you want to do a phd at some point.
Hi there. As an FE teacher myself, I know where you're coming from but I'd second that multiple masters degrees aren't necessary. I'd say getting some experience in teaching those subjects would be better. I mean, my specialism is English but over the years I've found myself teaching media and film for example. I didn't need to do a masters in those subjects, I just shouted up and said 'I can do that' when the chance arose, knowing the diversity would be good on my cv. Good luck with it.
Thanks pf329, I would certainly do OU work, as that would be the most flexible.
Thanks bewildered, you clearly have a lot of knowledge about this. I've a mix of unis that I could get to, a couple of Russell Group ones a couple of newer unis. They all have fairly busy education departments. I sort of feel that could be the better option. As it is I mentor PGCE students, and I'm involved with staff training at work so perhaps moving that way anyhow. But personally, lit is more appealing. It's a real heart vs head. Thanks for the advice.
Supposing I did a doctorate (I'm writing a research proposal currently). After I'd finished it, given that there aren't many permanent lectureships around, how easy / difficult is to get hourly paid teaching in universities or contract work instead?
My situation is that currently I'm a teacher / course leader in a sixth form college. I'm thinking about dropping some hours to do a either a PhD (English Lit) or an EdD. And I'm just wondering, when it gets to the end of it, could I have a sort of 'portfolio career' where my main, regular income is from my current role. But then topped up with uni work on a more flexible basis.
Would this sound do-able? I think it might be more realistic than going for a permanent lectureship. The thing for me is, I'm kind of tied geographically in that I've got a mortgage and stuff, but there are a good number of universities I could realistically commute to on a short term basis. As an experienced teacher, especially one with skills and qualifications in online learning, I think I could be an asset.
And I sort of like the idea of being flexible. As long as I have a regular income from my current job, that would pay the bills. And I do actually really enjoy teaching A-levels. But then I also have a thirst for knowledge regarding my subject(s) and want to be a researcher in my own right. Plus I do a bit of other stuff too, outdoor pursuits teaching which is seasonal in the summer and I'm not sure that would fit with being a full-time academic; that's something I want to expand, hence I'm also working towards qualifying as a windsurfing instructor at the moment, too. I just want to do everything - teach, lecture, research, do sports....
But what do people reckon? Is hourly / contract work in universities easy to come by? And how do you get it?
Thanks for giving the other perspective. That 8 per cent figure is pretty frightening. And certainly it seems that the full time permanent lectureship is a tricky thing to achieve.
I do worry how much chance I would have to punish and present things alongside my teaching workload, but guess I'm going to have to play it by ear.
Sadly I'm not independently wealthy, and will have to teach four days a week and mark exam scripts to cover my costs, so that is a concern, having time to do it properly.
Hi again everyone. Thanks muchly for all these further responses.
Cloudofash - I think you're right on that, definitely a big distinction between sciences and humanities. So hard when you're reading about phds / academic jobs market etc to know what is relevant to your own particular area / the job market you might enter.
HazyJane - that website looks like it could be a big help in chasing what little bits of funding there might be. Definitely agree that my having an established career in a related area gives me something to fall back on; worst case scenario, in six / seven years I'll be a college teacher with a PhD I guess, but I'll have scratched that itch and done all I can to get where I want to be.
pd1598 - that is something I've considered. At work I've been involved in whole-staff teaching and learning initiatives, mentoring trainees and helping other staff. So a job in teacher training at a university would be a possibility. Problem is, they're pretty hotly contested too, of course, and few and far between. I wouldn't say no, though!
mon1985 - really glad to hear that. great knowing it's worked out for someone.
Gosh, lots of encouraging replies. I think I'm going to take this as a sign that I should press ahead. To be honest I'd expected tales of woe and warnings of dire peril ahead!
Thanks. Yeah, somehow I'd decided (or been persuaded) that even by my late twenties I'd 'missed the boat', but obviously not!
Good luck to you too :)
Hi guys, that's two really inspiring replies.
Ed - yes 'follow my heart' - I think I should, really, and maybe the objections I have are just in my head - age, prospects, etc when really the fact is there's nothing else I want to do.
And SocialJen - Wow! Best of luck with your application - I'm sure you'll do it!
I think I'm so used to thinking negatively (mostly due to past experiences with my family and a former partner) that I put all these obstacles in my way. So hearing people be positive and seeing that others are willing to take a risk to further their education is a big help, honestly.
Hi. Ok, so here's the thing. Did English degree years ago, 2001, Finished with a good 2.1 - too young, too much pub and footy. Worked abroad; came home, worked in marketing. Hated corporate life so did PGCE then went into FE and now run a big Eng Lit course. Love it, mostly, but feeling unfulfilled. Recently completed a part-time Master's in Multimedia (love designing online resources to teach my students anyway so thought why not get a qualification out of it). Got a distinction and my supervisor recommended doctoral study.
Considered an EdD but it seems that would only really equip me to climb higher in my current role and progress up the chain of management. Which isn't for me. Recently turned down a managerial role at another college as I know I'm just not ruthless enough. Really my hearts with English Lit. A couple of months ago I fired off an email to one of my old lecturers who specialises in an area I'm interested in. Bizarrely she remembered me, and said that it's actually an under-research area, and she would gladly supervise a PhD. So far so good but here's my dilemma.
Funding would be no good even if there were any. Even on a full stipend, I couldn't manage mortgage etc. Only way would be going four days a week at work leaving me with a still reasonable income. I could cover tuition fees by examining. The question is, should I do it? Would not being funded ultimately make it pointless? I'd also be in my early forties on completion? Too old to get a lecturing job? Could I combine FE and HE teaching, even on a casual basis? Should I just do it for the love of it then move on? Any other late starters have a similar tale to tell?
All points of view gratefully received.
Just a quick update. Well, did it, finished the masters and got my distinction. Still in two minds. Supervisor reckons a phd is best route for me if wanting a research career, rather than the edd. So taking a break to do some playwriting - just a hobby - then gonna see. bah...
Yes, that is a consideration. To be honest though, the uni I've applied to are just about to open a huge, brand new education building so I'm kind of thinking that they wouldn't have bothered for it to close in the next five years... hopefully not anyway. As you say, some places seem to have suffered more than others, it seems a really mixed picture.
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