When applying for graduate assistantships or part-time teaching for grad school scholarships, is university teaching necessarily better than highschool teaching experience? if so, by how much?

Possibly relevant details:

  1. I am graduating soon with a master's degree from a third world university.

  2. My plan is to get a PhD but am considering getting teaching experience to boost my chance's of getting in.

  3. I am considering teaching at my university (or another university in my country) for a year or so.

  4. However, I have something like a dual citizenship in a first world country in the sense that I permitted to work there in addition to an established residence (my mom and sister live there while my dad and brother live with me).

  5. Said FWC is where I would like to get my PhD.

  6. My parents suggested I teach at my sister's highschool (or some highschool in said FWC since I will unlikely get into one of the universities there).

  7. I am fine with either in terms of job requirements (e.g. highschool has more requirements and students tend to snooze off more), but the pay is alarmingly different by a factor of 5.

Another difference is that if I teach in my university long enough, I might be able to teach or assist in teaching advanced stuff like probability, linear algebra, calculus III or financial maths. There's also a tutorial center nearby and there are occasional students who need tutorials in probability, statistics and linear algebra.

  • 18
    In the US (and probably in Europe too, though I don't have direct experience with things overseas), there is no expectation that candidates for teaching assistantships have any teaching experience. And at least at my institution having teaching experience would not really have any effect on your chance of being admitted. Jan 10, 2015 at 18:32
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    Although what @AndyPutman said is certainly correct, so far as I know in the U.S., having some experience with the ambient culture, and some teaching experience in that culture, can be a slight plus, especially if command of spoken English is potentially an issue. Jan 10, 2015 at 19:31
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    I think it would be a good idea to include in what field you want to pursue a PhD. If, for instance, you think about a PhD in education (possibly in the teaching of mathematics) it could be an advantage to teach at a High School. I don't know how the regulations are in other countries, but in the Netherlands you cannot just teach at a high school without education in high school teaching (after university, a one year master course) Mar 27, 2015 at 11:58
  • @AndyPutman I was wondering because I was thinking of teaching while applying as I would start applying after the heavy portions of my master's. Thanks.
    – BCLC
    Mar 27, 2015 at 19:06
  • @MaartenvanWesel Not for what I was going but thanks for the info.
    – BCLC
    Mar 27, 2015 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


If there is an option definitely university teaching is more valuable as it is at the same level as the teaching you will experience while doing your degree. However, you should consider that PhD is a research-based degree and teaching obligation is not primary concern. So you might get the position without having any teaching experience and finally get your PhD being a year or so younger.

  • I was wondering because I was thinking of teaching while applying as I would start applying after the heavy portions of my master's. Thanks Kid.
    – BCLC
    Mar 27, 2015 at 19:05

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