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  #131 (permalink)  
Old 14-03-2013, 09:53 AM
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Hi,

I'm a local undergrad in science, thinking of taking up the teaching bond.

I've been giving tuition for quite some time and i find teaching enjoyable. I know it's early to sign before i graduate but it doesn't make financial sense to join MOE after i graduate. You see, MOE sponsors generously for studies and even pays for allowance. That translates to about $60k + of remuneration for four years of education in exchange for four years of bond.

I came from a humble background, my dad is always looking forward to retirement and i hope to ease his burden so that he can retire earlier.

As far as i enjoy teaching, I hope that this career doesn't bring me to a dead end. I understand that teaching has 80% admin work which i'm not sure if i like. I'd like to ask about the future prospects.

Do teachers lose out when they decided to join private after their bonds? Is 28 years old too late to start climbing the corporate ladder? Is it possible to take a masters while i'm serving the teaching bond?

Urgently needing some answers as application closes this friday.
Dude one word of advice - Teaching pte tution is very different from being MOE teacher. Do not join base on the fact you like giving tuition!

Being a MOE teacher is a government job of which teaching is just one of the many things you will be doing. Also if you want to move up to HOD level because of limited slot, expect fierce office politics and backstabbing. They do not promote the best teachers to be HOD, they promote the best politician who know how to play the game. HOD to VP level is 100% politics 0% teaching skills.

I know many good teachers who just want to teach get sidelined and forced into the "teaching" track instead of the "management" track. Once you in teaching track, it is game over for your corporate ladder. A teaching track has no real meaningful promotion, only service recognition nonsense like Senior Teacher or Subject/Curriculum head. These are fake titles as you will have no subordinates and still be doing all the grunt work till retirement. Some nasty HOD will even bully Senior Teacher into doing more OT by asking them to coach the younger ones.

There are now many teachers who after staying with MOE for many years then realise they have lost the game and no hope so move to pte tuition in their late 30s. Generally mid career teachers who move out have very little option as they have limited skill sets and corporate experience. 90% end up in the tuition or pte education line.

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  #132 (permalink)  
Old 14-03-2013, 10:40 AM
undergrad
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Thanks all for the advice.

Yes that's what i'm worried about, that if i join teaching and i don't like the politics, i may need to leave after the bond. Really thinking if 28 years old is too late for career switch.

I'm a science major, and i can't stop at this degree either. I have to take up masters anyway so was wondering if i could take up masters while teaching and complete it by 28 years old. Then just nice i'd have finished my bond and i can move on to corporate world. You see, we all know that for science students, a bachelor is not enough.

I may be four years later then my peers, but at least I've gotten a masters and I've eased the immediate financial burdens on my family.

Is this plan feasible? Looking forward to some advice as well.

Thanks!

Undergrad.

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  #133 (permalink)  
Old 14-03-2013, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by undergrad View Post
Hi,

I'm a local undergrad in science, thinking of taking up the teaching bond.

I've been giving tuition for quite some time and i find teaching enjoyable. I know it's early to sign before i graduate but it doesn't make financial sense to join MOE after i graduate. You see, MOE sponsors generously for studies and even pays for allowance. That translates to about $60k + of remuneration for four years of education in exchange for four years of bond.

I came from a humble background, my dad is always looking forward to retirement and i hope to ease his burden so that he can retire earlier.

As far as i enjoy teaching, I hope that this career doesn't bring me to a dead end. I understand that teaching has 80% admin work which i'm not sure if i like. I'd like to ask about the future prospects.

Do teachers lose out when they decided to join private after their bonds? Is 28 years old too late to start climbing the corporate ladder? Is it possible to take a masters while i'm serving the teaching bond?

Urgently needing some answers as application closes this friday.
Any parent would be happy to have you as their child. Already thinking of taking care of them.

I think it is important to know yourself in deciding the career you want to pursue - your nature, your goals in life, your disposition. Many young ones start out by making the mistake of mindlessly chasing $$$.

Stories abound of seemingly successful career people burning out and taking a 180degree turn in their life choices and doing charity instead.

I come from a family of teachers - my wife, sisters, and close friends and even their wives. Although I am not a teacher, I worked in the civil service. We all worked in 1 job all our lives. Yes, we cannot make big bucks, but is $$$ the only thing important in life? Our income is at least steady, and granted that we may have started our careers early before the crazy housing prices, most of us are staying in landed properties and condominiums.

Teaching is more than just a job, you are dealing with young and impressionable minds. Working hours is deceptively long. Deceptive because all teachers bring back work to do even though they appear to work half days only. My wife frequently worked pass midmight to prepare lessons, set and mark papers. But she never complained, because I think teaching suits her nature and her patience.

Back to the $$$ angle, comparing to my cohort, many of my friends in the private sector have changed jobs a few times. Some had been jobless for long duration. Ironically, many of the success stories are those holding high post in the government or government linked companies. Only 2 or three are making big $$$ in the private sector.

Office politics there will be, but it is definitely a jungle out in the private sector. If you are hard working, eager to take on responsibilities and job assignments that your colleagues avoid and yet excel in them, you will do alright whether in civil service or outside.

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  #134 (permalink)  
Old 14-03-2013, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by undergrad View Post
Thanks all for the advice.

Yes that's what i'm worried about, that if i join teaching and i don't like the politics, i may need to leave after the bond. Really thinking if 28 years old is too late for career switch.

I'm a science major, and i can't stop at this degree either. I have to take up masters anyway so was wondering if i could take up masters while teaching and complete it by 28 years old. Then just nice i'd have finished my bond and i can move on to corporate world. You see, we all know that for science students, a bachelor is not enough.

I may be four years later then my peers, but at least I've gotten a masters and I've eased the immediate financial burdens on my family.

Is this plan feasible? Looking forward to some advice as well.

Thanks!

Undergrad.
Everything got risk and reward. If you sign up with MOE with the intention of running off when complete masters, the reward will of course be a free education and job stability in the process so that you can study in peace.

Got high risk also. First off, very hard to compete in other industry. For e.g. if your masters is material sciences and you want to apply for a R&D job in a high tech MNC, you will need to compete with others who are younger, have worked in industry competitors, similar industrial attachment or internal people who studied while working within the company. You will be like an old freshie with no relevant exp, possible but difficult.

There is also the stigma of pte sector against civil servant. Sometimes it is justified as the culture difference is big and most people who switch from public to pte have problems settling in. Based on experience this is a big disadvantage during interview as they will usually ask question like why they should take the risk to hire you. Little you can do to convince except say the usual thing like you are flexible, willing to learn, can work hard etc etc

Big pay cut. By the time you finish your bond you will be making about 4.5k+, unlikely that pte sector can match your pay. Depending on the industry and company, starting pay for masters freshies can range from 2.5 - 4k. When you are young, pay cut might seem like no big deal. But by late 20s usually you will have bf/gf, thinking of settling down, getting car, getting house, going on frequent holiday etc, by then a 1k pay cut is no joke for sure.

At the end of the day, depend on whether you want to take the risk. Many people have same plan like you sign up SAF, Police want to get free education and lobo but when the time comes to quit, they unwilling or unable because of above factors. Think carefully and walk in with eyes open.

My advice is if you join MOE, be prepared to be a normal teacher for the rest of your life and treat any promotion to HOD/VP/P as a bonus. Dun join with the hope or expectation to get real promotion climb ladder etc, this is just setting up yourself for disappointment.
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  #135 (permalink)  
Old 14-03-2013, 09:11 PM
undergrad
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Any parent would be happy to have you as their child. Already thinking of taking care of them.

I think it is important to know yourself in deciding the career you want to pursue - your nature, your goals in life, your disposition. Many young ones start out by making the mistake of mindlessly chasing $$$.

Stories abound of seemingly successful career people burning out and taking a 180degree turn in their life choices and doing charity instead.

I come from a family of teachers - my wife, sisters, and close friends and even their wives. Although I am not a teacher, I worked in the civil service. We all worked in 1 job all our lives. Yes, we cannot make big bucks, but is $$$ the only thing important in life? Our income is at least steady, and granted that we may have started our careers early before the crazy housing prices, most of us are staying in landed properties and condominiums.

Teaching is more than just a job, you are dealing with young and impressionable minds. Working hours is deceptively long. Deceptive because all teachers bring back work to do even though they appear to work half days only. My wife frequently worked pass midmight to prepare lessons, set and mark papers. But she never complained, because I think teaching suits her nature and her patience.

Back to the $$$ angle, comparing to my cohort, many of my friends in the private sector have changed jobs a few times. Some had been jobless for long duration. Ironically, many of the success stories are those holding high post in the government or government linked companies. Only 2 or three are making big $$$ in the private sector.

Office politics there will be, but it is definitely a jungle out in the private sector. If you are hard working, eager to take on responsibilities and job assignments that your colleagues avoid and yet excel in them, you will do alright whether in civil service or outside.
Hi there, thanks for taking time to reply. Honestly appreciate constructive feedbacks from forumers.

Your wife must really be dedicated! I'm not even sure my dedication will go such a long way like her, and teachers like her are quite rare. Many teachers I've known in my schooling days go home by the evening so i sort of got the impression of how relaxed it can be. Didn't see the hardwork they put in back home so it's wrong to judge.

It's really that bad in private sectors? Haha gonna think again, i'm actually thinking of trying out private sector some time in my life, but if teaching is going to get me stuck i should really reconsider. Yes i get the pay cut issue, can imagine how drastic it's going to affect a late twenties who are planning for marriage.

Thanks for the response. Will reconsider again, but just submit my application for time being.
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  #136 (permalink)  
Old 14-03-2013, 09:18 PM
undergrad
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Everything got risk and reward. If you sign up with MOE with the intention of running off when complete masters, the reward will of course be a free education and job stability in the process so that you can study in peace.

Got high risk also. First off, very hard to compete in other industry. For e.g. if your masters is material sciences and you want to apply for a R&D job in a high tech MNC, you will need to compete with others who are younger, have worked in industry competitors, similar industrial attachment or internal people who studied while working within the company. You will be like an old freshie with no relevant exp, possible but difficult.

There is also the stigma of pte sector against civil servant. Sometimes it is justified as the culture difference is big and most people who switch from public to pte have problems settling in. Based on experience this is a big disadvantage during interview as they will usually ask question like why they should take the risk to hire you. Little you can do to convince except say the usual thing like you are flexible, willing to learn, can work hard etc etc

Big pay cut. By the time you finish your bond you will be making about 4.5k+, unlikely that pte sector can match your pay. Depending on the industry and company, starting pay for masters freshies can range from 2.5 - 4k. When you are young, pay cut might seem like no big deal. But by late 20s usually you will have bf/gf, thinking of settling down, getting car, getting house, going on frequent holiday etc, by then a 1k pay cut is no joke for sure.

At the end of the day, depend on whether you want to take the risk. Many people have same plan like you sign up SAF, Police want to get free education and lobo but when the time comes to quit, they unwilling or unable because of above factors. Think carefully and walk in with eyes open.

My advice is if you join MOE, be prepared to be a normal teacher for the rest of your life and treat any promotion to HOD/VP/P as a bonus. Dun join with the hope or expectation to get real promotion climb ladder etc, this is just setting up yourself for disappointment.
Hi thank you, kind soul, for taking time to respond to my queries.

I think i may need to reconsider again. I don't want choose something that limits my life in the future.

Yes i get the pay cut issue. And many people have warn me about the stigma. They'd rather hire a freshie then to hire an ex civil servant in the late twenties or so i heard, even if both were to accept the same pay package.

May just attempt to give corporate world a shot. MOE seems rather predictable for me and i don't really feel comfortable. I can still give private tuition in my free time if i really love to teach.
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  #137 (permalink)  
Old 16-03-2013, 12:13 PM
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There is a lot of truth in what you've mentioned, but I'm a little puzzled by what you'd mentioned about Senior Teachers and Curriculum/Subject Heads being 'service recognition nonsense'. Those posts are officially recognised as roles of higher responsibility by MOE, and officers serving in these positions will be able to be promoted to the SEO1 pay scale (as opposed to normal teachers who peak at GEO1A3).

(Subject Heads also often act as Reporting Officers for teachers, too.)

Senior Teachers do often get involved in coaching newer teachers, but that is really part of the job description and STs should be aware of this when they take up the role.

In fact, many officers who are on the leadership track choose to switch to becoming Senior Teachers if they find they would rather concentrate on teaching as opposed to department administration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Dude one word of advice - Teaching pte tution is very different from being MOE teacher. Do not join base on the fact you like giving tuition!

Being a MOE teacher is a government job of which teaching is just one of the many things you will be doing. Also if you want to move up to HOD level because of limited slot, expect fierce office politics and backstabbing. They do not promote the best teachers to be HOD, they promote the best politician who know how to play the game. HOD to VP level is 100% politics 0% teaching skills.

I know many good teachers who just want to teach get sidelined and forced into the "teaching" track instead of the "management" track. Once you in teaching track, it is game over for your corporate ladder. A teaching track has no real meaningful promotion, only service recognition nonsense like Senior Teacher or Subject/Curriculum head. These are fake titles as you will have no subordinates and still be doing all the grunt work till retirement. Some nasty HOD will even bully Senior Teacher into doing more OT by asking them to coach the younger ones.

There are now many teachers who after staying with MOE for many years then realise they have lost the game and no hope so move to pte tuition in their late 30s. Generally mid career teachers who move out have very little option as they have limited skill sets and corporate experience. 90% end up in the tuition or pte education line.
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  #138 (permalink)  
Old 17-03-2013, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by undergrad View Post
Thanks all for the advice.

Yes that's what i'm worried about, that if i join teaching and i don't like the politics, i may need to leave after the bond. Really thinking if 28 years old is too late for career switch.

I'm a science major, and i can't stop at this degree either. I have to take up masters anyway so was wondering if i could take up masters while teaching and complete it by 28 years old. Then just nice i'd have finished my bond and i can move on to corporate world. You see, we all know that for science students, a bachelor is not enough.

I may be four years later then my peers, but at least I've gotten a masters and I've eased the immediate financial burdens on my family.

Is this plan feasible? Looking forward to some advice as well.

Thanks!

Undergrad.
Dude, I thinkng while you are a teacher, you cannot take Masters or parttime studies without asking your principal or MOE for permission.
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  #139 (permalink)  
Old 18-03-2013, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
There is a lot of truth in what you've mentioned, but I'm a little puzzled by what you'd mentioned about Senior Teachers and Curriculum/Subject Heads being 'service recognition nonsense'. Those posts are officially recognised as roles of higher responsibility by MOE, and officers serving in these positions will be able to be promoted to the SEO1 pay scale (as opposed to normal teachers who peak at GEO1A3).

(Subject Heads also often act as Reporting Officers for teachers, too.)

Senior Teachers do often get involved in coaching newer teachers, but that is really part of the job description and STs should be aware of this when they take up the role.

In fact, many officers who are on the leadership track choose to switch to becoming Senior Teachers if they find they would rather concentrate on teaching as opposed to department administration.
Long before giving fake promotions became popular, people join MOE as teacher and that’s it. They get their increments yearly and salary go up with time and the older ones are expected to give younger ones guidance. Those who able to navigate the politics and please their bosses get promoted while the rest are just content with being a teacher all the way.

Then came the late 90s trend in pte and public sector of people being promoted every few years. But the fundamental remain unchanged, there is only 1 HOD for every 10-15 teachers, so how? It was then that MOE came up with this rubbish about management and teacher track together with fancy job levels and titles that give the fake appearance of “progression”.

But ask yourself, what difference is there between a so called Curriculum Head and Senior Teacher and Teacher? None at all.

Job wise they are almost the same, the do the same teaching, teach the same number of class, have the same level of decision making power. They are all individual roles with no subordinates. There is no pay difference if you strip off wage inflation that comes with years of service. For eg. a teacher who join at 3.5k just by following general wage inflation of 4% will reach 6.3k after 15 years, the pay of a Senior Teacher. Benefit same as well.

At the end of the day, in MOE’s eyes you are not moving up the ladder at all, all these mumbo jumbo is just pacifying the masses who cannot make it to HOD so that they dun quit en masse. Most people realize that, so they fight politics like mad to get HOD and many resign once they see they lost out.

Also to take note, Subject Head is the precursor to HOD. If you get Subject Head, it means you are in the management track. This is different from Curriculum Head, which is yet another fake title implemented in some schools that is for those who are thrown into the teaching track. Subject Head means you are in the run to be HOD, Curriculum Head means you are stuck and have no hope to be made manager.

Not trying to denigrate the teaching profession here, but when it comes to talk about career and pay progression, we gotta be true to ourselves and stop kidding ourselves using fancy titles and job levels.
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  #140 (permalink)  
Old 18-03-2013, 12:12 PM
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I don't usually like to comment over this forum, but, having seen this line of discussion, I will give my 2 cents worth of opinion.

I have been a private tutor for the pass 20 years and now I am running a tuition school that has more than 1,000 students. I started my career with one student some 20 years ago. I am not a MOE teacher. As a matter of fact, I applied to MOE twice and they rejected me on both occasions.

This may sound proud to u but not only they missed a good teacher, they missed me in their selection, 2 times some more. It mades u question MOE's parameter of selecting a teacher.

Teaching in a school and private tuition is TOTALY different.

Putting politics and administrative work aside, u will be given a class of 40 to teach and both parties, teachers and students, have no other option but to be put in the same class room whether they like it or not.

In private tuition, it is a willing buyer and seller market. The number of students one can solicit solely depends on yr teaching skill, charisma and parents management. All these 3 qualities are irrelevant to yr love for teaching. I am seen many teachers love to teach but they can't teach. Teaching is not in them.

To me, the ability to teach and to motivate students is a gift, one cannot attend NIE course and assume he/she can do this job well. This is the reason why a lot of great teachers eventually become private tutors. The top 3 teachers in my school is not MOE trained. As a matter of fact, the more problematic ones in my school are the MOE teachers.

If u want to take up private tuition as yr career, u must be extremely good or else the market will eat u alive as competition is too stiff.
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