I worked as a Teaching Fellow at NUMed from October 2020 to June 2021. Subsequently, I started working as a House Officer in August 2021. You may be wondering, why didn't I just keep working as a Teaching Fellow instead of becoming a House Officer?
Actually, I too wish that I could continue working as a Teaching Fellow at NUMed. After all, the Teaching Fellow job is so much easier and more interesting and it's monthly salary is just slightly lower compared to that of a House Officer. However, there are several reasons why that's not a viable option for me.
The main reason is that my Teaching Fellow contract ended in June 2021. There was no provision for an extension of the contract as NUMed offers Teaching Fellow contracts on a one-off basis only. One of the Teaching Fellows in the previous year tried to get a long-term contract after his contact ended, but he was unsuccessful in that. One of my Teaching Fellow colleagues on the 3-month contract also tried to extend his contract without success. Therefore, I didn't attempt to seek an extension of my Teaching Fellow contract.
An alternative to extending the contract would be to reapply for the Teaching Fellow post for the 2021/2022 academic year. With the teaching experience and the AFHEA qualification I gained through working as a Teaching Fellow, I would have an advantage in the application. However, the post is mainly meant for graduates from the 2016-2021 batch. The 2016-2021 batch had been quite unfortunate and I really sympathise with them.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they missed out on the opportunity to do their Student Selected Components and Electives in UK and there were a lot of disruptions and uncertainties during their Stage 5 of MBBS. I definitely want them to have the opportunity to be a Teaching Fellow. If I reapplied for the Teaching Fellow post, I would be denying someone from that batch the opportunity. Considering how competitive the application is, every single place counts. Therefore, I decided not to reapply.
Even if I could somehow get an extension of my Teaching Fellow contract, there's the fact that Teaching Fellows aren't full-fledged lecturers. NUMed Teaching Fellows are mostly involved in teaching parts of the Year 1 and 2 curriculum, with limited opportunities to teach Year 3 to 5. While the Teaching Fellow job had been very interesting and rewarding for me, it's not my plan to be a Teaching Fellow permanently. Instead, I view it as a stepping stone to gain valuable teaching experience in order to achieve greater heights in my teaching career.
My aim is to become a full-fledged lecturer who will have more teaching responsibilities. Unfortunately, there's no direct upgrade path from a Teaching Fellow to a full-fledged lecturer. To become a full-fledged medical lecturer in Malaysia, one must have full registration with the Malaysian Medical Council, which requires the completion of 2 years of housemanship. Like it or not, I have to work as a House Officer for now.
My transition from being a Teaching Fellow to being a House Officer is like going from heaven to hell. The House Officer job is really stressful with long working hours. However, my Medical Education dream motivates me to persevere with my housemanship. I must survive the hell before I can get to the higher levels of heaven.