facebookShould I embark on a career change from Research Assistant ($4.1k) to MOE teacher ($3.8k)? - Seedly


26 Jun 2021


Should I embark on a career change from Research Assistant ($4.1k) to MOE teacher ($3.8k)?

I am a 30 year old Research Assistant earning 4.1k, yearly contract basis with possible renewals. Bonus is 2 months max per year (yearly gratuity and AWS). A decent flexible job, but less stable, little pay growth and career advancements (needs postgrad degree).

I found a passion for teaching as i did class tuition as a side hustle. Been offered a position as MOE teacher. Salary is 3.8k but bonuses will be more, more stable, and better salary increments/career progression.

Should I take it?

Discussion (18)

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Chong Qi Hui

Edited 19 Oct 2021

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It depends on your stage of life and what is more important to you. If you have commitments, for example just started a family, have a newborn child, need to pay bills including your housing mortgage, etc, you may think of going for stability.

If not at your age of 30 and do not have many financial commitments, go for your passion and don't regret it when you're 40. Just my personal opinion 😃


29 Oct 2020

Life Alchemist at School of Hard Knocks

Being a teacher is a tough job. If you're single, I think it's still OK. I know of a LGBT friend who is still teaching (Secondary level). If you've a family, maybe you want to get it for the experience and credential (on your resume as a MOE teacher) for a few years, then quit MOE to join / start tuition centre, or full-time tuition.

When I was in JC, my Physics teacher quit. I asked him why, when he invited me to listen on one of his business proposals. He told me that when he saw how his aged fellow teachers were so busy, bringing work home, that they couldn't even have time to guide their own children in their studies, it really broke his heart (the irony of it all as a teacher). He wanted to get out of the system.

Lots of work probably not related to teaching but will demand your involvement, e.g. assessing each student on their performance, or communicating with parents (all these cannot outsource to admin staff right...) etc.

My perception is teachers in Primary & Secondary school have it a bit better than those in JC schools. A friend is still teaching Primary school for so many years. Meanwhile, my ex-Physics teacher has quit while one of my close friends who taught in JC, took her life after more than 10 years as a teacher.

Maybe there're JC teachers who enjoy staying on, but from what I understand from my JC form teacher (when we met due to the death of my friend/her former student), a lot has changed from last time.

I have respect for this profession, but not the work environment that subjects these good people into.

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I’ve made a decision in the past year to take a pay-cut and follow an interesting project within my company where I’d get a huge upside bonus that would more than make up for the pay-cut in the very slim chance I succeeded. I did not succeed, but I felt it had contributed significantly to my growth and the loss was worth it.

Going back to when I was making this decision, I didn’t look at passion, but I focused on best and worst outcome.

My experiences so far when I’ve taken career risks is that passion at work can fizzle out without the right “why”. Passion is not a controllable emotion, but it may be an emotion that drives motivation. However, for a career I cannot rely on passion alone to be satisfied, motivated or happy with my progress. What is important is for me to assess what can I gain from this career move and how else can I motivate myself in the event I can no longer rely on passion.

Just sharing my framework in case it helps you.

  1. Understand my bias towards the opportunity
  2. Identify the right profiles of people to seek input from
  3. Ask the right questions to help you build a full picture
  4. Evaluate risk/reward
  5. Make a decision
  6. Remember this process, keep collecting information and experiences that will make my decision worth it

I evaluate how I react to what people say. When do I feel strongly when people said I should or shouldn’t take the opportunity - this reveals my own bias towards the opportunity. We already have our own answers. Once I know where my heart is, questions on the opportunity can be structured better.

Instead of “Should I take this opportunity”, I’m gathering input from a specific persona or profile that will be able to most accurately help me form a view of what the risk/reward looks like.

Once I’ve done a risk assessment, and I know what I’m going into this decision for, it’s not hard making the decision.

What’s hard is making peace with it and once the risk is taken, how can I make the best out of it. What does failure look like? What does success look like? Every time I face a difficulty, for situations I’ve already listed, I have a way to acknowledge and manage my emotions that that possibility happened. It helps me move on to what I can do to gain the most value even in the worst case scenario.

This is important because in repeated “failure” situations, passion might be overwhelmed by insecurity and negative thought patterns. I can’t stop it, but I can be ready for it and aware of them.

All the best for your big decision! You’re capable of making the best choices for you even if they aren’t always what looks like the “right” choice to others!

Once a research engineer, once a part-time tutor. Now an design engineer.

if u dont intend to further study, research will have little to no progression. MOE teacher u really need to like ur job, think will be difficult to jump out after tat, think holiday will burn.

Basically, all job the same. Juz for $$$ after sometime is boring and tend to jump around. After certian age, u will jus stick with wat ever u have for stability not because of passion.

Class tuition and MOE teacher is really different.

As a tuition teacher, parents only care about r...

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