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Old 27-12-2016, 03:40 PM   #54
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 34
I noticed a lot of interest in getting admission into the NIE programs to become trained teachers. Hope to raise some awareness of the whole progress from school to life of a teacher once you have graduated and started serving your bonds.

Life at NIE

Life in NIE is almost the same as NTU. Housing is available if you meet certain requirements. Lectures and tutorials are the same as other Unis. Timings of lectures are also the same! Which means some may start as early as 830am, and if you live in the east, you gotta leave house real early. You can join CCAs/Clubs/Org if you wish. The only difference is the 2 periods during your 4 year study term which you will be posted into a school for experience. During your short-term posting into schools, you will be shadowing a teacher to learn the hands on. Some of which may include involvement in a CCA.

Pay matters

You will be given a monthly salary (What ever you have signed during your first appointment) for the first 24 months of your Uni duration. After which, your next 24 months will be considered No Pay, however you are still under employment of MOE. The next 24 months, although you are under No pay, students who have high GPA, 3.5 (might have increased or decreased), will receive a yearly stipend. Last time it was $6000 split into $3000 for each term. Might have changed over the years.

**This stipend is not free. You will be given a paper to give your guarantors to sign to stated that this amount will be included in your bond. This is in the event that IF you break your bond, you must also pay back this stipend.

There will be a 2 month period (give or take) once you start work and notice that your pay scale does not reflect that of a graduates pay (still under the original pay when you entered). Do not panic, your pay will be prorated and given to you.

Common misconception people get is to think that they start their employment with MOE only after they have graduated from Uni. Please note that you start your employment from the day you sign your LoA. This matters if you decide to apply for a HDB and need to declare your pay etc. You can state that you are a trainee teacher and have been under the employment of MOE.

Please also note that during your study duration, although you are under employment with MOE, you do not enjoy any annual leave because you will need to follow the rules of the NIE program (Like any other Uni course).

Updated : Pay scale has been revised, check with MOE website for grading pay scales.

Posting into schools

Some of you might wish to be posted to a certain school. It could be because you came from that school, or the school is close to your home. For undergraduates, the best time to try to get posted into your school of choice will be when you start your last school 'attachment' during your final year. If you wish/hope to remain in that same school after your attachment, speak with your supervisors and teachers/principle to see if they can write a request to MOE to post you back to the school once you have graduated. This ought to be done at the start of the year (of your graduation) or the end of the previous year.

If you wish to teach/hope to get posting to another school of your choice, email/contact that school and seek an appointment with the HoD / VP to see if they require teachers for their department in the coming year. If so, inform them that you are interested and hope they could request MOE to post you to their school. Also do this at the start of the year or the end of the previous year.

**Doing this does NOT mean you will get a posting but it does increase your chances**

If you wish for MOE to post you to where ever they wish, you might want to note that the posting will be, somewhere near your address registered with MOE (they will try their best), but sometimes you may get posted far away if they require teachers in that certain school. My classmate lives in East Coast area and she got posted to Outram sec.

For those in PGDE - I've seen most PGDEs get posted to where ever they serve their attachment (they only do one).

First year at school

The first day at school will be busy and you are expected to feel lost! You will be entering during the mid way point of the schooling year. Everything is in full gear. As from the last 3 years at my school, teachers who enter during the middle of the year do not take over a full class. They are normally required to slot in for different classes for the teachers who are on long-term leave. Some might be given the role of a 2nd FT, this is to prepare them for the following year when all teachers are expected to become FTs of a class.

You are expected to take up a CCA. The HoD/supervisor will decide what you take. Schools will normally put 2-3 teachers in-charge of a bigger CCA group. And they will take turns to do CCA duty. Some CCAs are expected to be done on Saturday mornings. Others will be after school on weekdays. If there are competitions, you are expected to follow the coaches and your students.

School start times varies, but teachers are expected to arrive about 15 mins before the bell rings (some schools even earlier!) Lessons (official) end about 1.30pm - 2pm. There after, you get a short break before starting remedial / extra lessons, or you tend to your CCAs, or weekly meetings. There is also a day that is set aside for professional development. Most schools have a directive that allows teachers to leave only after a certain time. My school lets me leave at 3pm only if I do not have anything to clear. My friends school lets her leave at 230pm. Expect to stay back in school most of the days till about 5pm - 6pm.

Besides teaching, you will be asked to coordinate events as such international friendship day, national day, youth day, etc. There's also Meet the parents sessions that you will need to be present, and camps which you will need to follow. Once you get the hang of your first year, the second year will more or so be the same. Focus will still be the same - clear your syllabus ! On average, be mentally prepared for a 50 - 55 hour work week.

Promotions and Other MOE matters

Promotions (or pay raise) are done yearly after evaluations with your supervisors. My first pay raise only happen after 2 years of teaching, and that was an increase of $300.

Some teachers wish to do post-graduate studies. This can be done during your bond, but only after you have completed 2 years of the bond. Once that is done, you must write to MOE to seek permission to do a Masters. You can choose to take no pay leave and pay for your masters yourself or apply for sponsorship from MOE, which you will then need to top up your bond once you have finished your Masters. All this is subject to approval as well.

For females, you can get pregnant during your bond (after graduation) and take your 3 months paid maternity leave. Your bond period will not be affected.

Teachers do not get annual leave. They get certain block periods during the year. This is normally 2 weeks during the mid year holidays and 2 weeks during the year end holidays. When are the exact duration depend on the school.

Teachers will get childcare or family leave which they can apply anytime. They also get some emergency leave, but this is case by case base on your school.

You still get your 14 days of MC a year, but be expected to come back to school even if you are sick if you have a class to teach because there's a high chance nobody can fill in for you.


What if I fail a course in NIE?

You will need to re-take that course and pay for it yourself. If you fail a whole term, you will need to pay and re-take that whole term. Your graduation might be pushed back. There's a limit to how much you can fail as well. Last I heard, 3 fails in the whole program was the limit before they kick you out.

What if I break my bond?

During my time at NIE, I knew 3 people who broke their bond. If you think about breaking your bond, please think 10 times over. Once you break your bond, you will need to repay back the course fees of the courses you have completed and the salary that has been given to you. It's pro-rated. So if you break your bond during year 1, it's a lesser amount to pay back then say, breaking your bond in year 3.

If you finish your training and decided to break your bond during the first year of working, you will need to pay the full course fees + what ever salary you was given during your training. Again, Pro-rated, so breaking the bond during your first year of work is higher VS breaking your bond that only has 6 months left.

I hate my school ! I want to go to another school.

You can request a transfer from MOE to get re-posted to another school only after serving the first 2 years in your school. You can only get posted to a government school (This would exclude those privately (independent) funded schools such as SJIi and ACSi) You can join them after you finish your 4 year bond. I've not heard of any exceptions to this.

I might seek an alternative career path then being in a mainstream school. Advise?

Some teachers whom I know are leaving the mainstream schools to enter the independent schools or to go overseas to teach / study to advance their career. But before that, there are some certs that you can take to increase your chances of employment overseas.

The most common is the TEFL cert.

Teaching English as a foreign language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This cert will help English teachers who go to non-English speaking countries. 2 teachers I know found a job in Malta and Czech Republic as English teachers. A TEFL cert is not only for English teachers. Other teachers can get the cert to show potential schools overseas that you are competent in teaching your specialized subject and English as well.

Foreign Universities offer Masters courses in curriculum development and certain specializations which are helpful for teachers seeking employment overseas.

I want to leave teaching but my teaching cert is all I got. How?

First option would be for you to work on a post-graduate level diploma in which ever field you wish to enter.

Second option would be for you to take graduate level programs out side of education that require a general degree to enter.

The geography teacher at my previous school went to do a gradate program in GIS at Johns Hopkin and is working as a GIS consultant overseas now. Totally out of education, but still relate to geography.

Both of these are better done overseas then local since there are a lot of limitations locally. Please do not think that your teaching cert limits you to our local gov. schools. In fact, your cert lets you go to a lot of countries that require trained/experienced teachers. But get some experience here, and make yourself more employable by getting certified.

***What ever information that is posted here is based on experience by myself, and some close friends whom are all teachers. Each schools management runs differently, so please do not treat this as final. This is just to help you get mentally prepared for the journey ahead.

Do you mind share the starting salary of a teacher and throughout the teaching career?

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