Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reader Question: MA +2

This one from James:

"I have an MA (in English Language & Literature), but, I have been looking at many advertisements that say MA + 2 years experience at a college or university, and I would like to know more about what that entails, and what the expectations are. I completed my MA in 2012, and my university teaching experience is limited to the 8 months I was a teaching assistant to an ENGL 101 class. My goal is to teach at a university this fall, but I would love to know, how does one get the experience if most jobs are asking for 2+ years?"

My answer: 

These days, it seems like job requirements are getting higher and higher and due to some government regulation regarding funding, universities want the magic MA +2 years experience at a uni.  If you have an MA but don't have the experience, you're still a step ahead of many people competing for the entry-level uni jobs, which is where you have a chance, especially at crunch time when the semester is starting in a few weeks and they still haven't filled all their slots with warm bodies.

By entry-level, I mean the jobs that have some sort of negative factor(s).  These include: in the countryside, low-pay (2.2 or less), high hours (16+), low vacation (less than 16 weeks), unpaid summer/winter camps, 5 days a week schedule, or teaching children as well as uni students.

You could also look for "uni-gwon" jobs, which are hybrid uni/hagwon jobs.  Something like an English cafe, or language institute at a uni and usually around 20-25 hours/week with a month or two vacation.  For the purposes of your resume, it still counts as "uni experience."

Apply to these jobs and stick it out for 2 years, even if it's not great.  Then, you'll have the magic number on your resume and can move on to bigger and better things in Busan or Seoul and with better working conditions. 

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