Asking your employer to support your postgraduate study is a smart strategy, but it can also be nerve-racking. How do you convince your employer that you’re worth the investment?
Some employers realise that investing in the ongoing professional learning and education of their staff brings significant rewards, and will offer generous assistance or financial support. Others need some convincing.
Either way, if you’re considering embarking on a postgraduate program, it pays to ask the question. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The key is to arm yourself with a business case that presents the benefits to your employer in a clear and structured way. See this as an opportunity to sell yourself and the qualification, show the school what’s in it for them, and address any concerns they may have.
Here are six tips to help you put together a strong case for support.
Find out if there’s a policy for staff development. Is there an existing policy for funding learning and development? Have other teachers or staff received support for their postgraduate program? If so, find out what the decision-making process is, what level and type of support you can expect, and what you need to do.
Highlight the tangible benefits to the school. It’s important that your employer understands that your postgraduate qualification won’t benefit just you; it will also bring advantages to your students, peers and school. Be specific about the new knowledge and skills you will gain, and demonstrate ways you can share what you learn with your colleagues. Investment in professional learning improves teacher quality and therefore student outcomes.
Show how quickly you will put your skills to work. It will help your case if your employer knows they won’t have to wait until the end of the course to benefit from your new knowledge. For example, ACER’s online Graduate Certificate of Education program gives you practical skills you can start using in the classroom from day one.
Make your course relevant to your employer. Think about the specific challenges your employer is facing right now and the skills they need for the future, then show how your qualification will help address these issues. Is your principal looking to put a stronger focus on the assessment of student learning following the Gonski 2.0 report? Explain how the Graduate Certificate of Education program will give them a qualified expert in assessment to whom leadership and colleagues can turn when they’re trying to solve assessment challenges.
Explain how you will balance work and study. One of the biggest concerns your employer may have is around how you will complete your qualification while working. Put these concerns to rest by showing your employer the benefits of a part-time online course. Explain how it allows you to study when and where you want, without interruption to your work schedule. You might even share your plan for how you will balance work and studies. (Check out our tips on how to strike the study-work-life balance.)
Prove the institution’s reputation. Why have you chosen to study with your preferred institution? Present the credentials of the institution and their faculty. For example, when you’re studying with ACER, you learn from world-leading experts in the field of assessment, knowledge you will be passing on to your employer and colleagues.
Over to you.
With applications now open for the January intake of the Graduate Certificate of Education: Assessment of Student Learning, there’s no better time to present your case to your employer.
Download our course guide and use Page 5 to show them how the postgraduate program will put your school and teachers at the forefront of assessment.