Alice Eardley is an English teacher at City of Oxford College, Activate Learning. She has a PhD in English literature and spent nine years teaching and research in higher education. She then retrained as a teacher through the Researchers in Schools teacher training programme, gaining QTS.
Initially I wasn’t confident about teaching and it seemed like a daunting thing to do, but when I got into it I really loved it – in fact, interacting and having an impact with other people ended up being the most satisfying part of my day. I am lucky to have had great support every step of the way to help me make the transition to teaching, which is where I feel I should be.
What are your aspirations for the future?
The main one is to be a better teacher and to keep working on my pedagogic skills. I would also like to have more responsibility, but it’s still important to me to keep teaching. I work with EAL students who are expected to take a first language paper, which can be really tough for them. With this in mind, I would like to develop the way I work with them and uncover where they may need particular support at a higher level.
What advice would you give others working in the sector?
Be open to asking people for help. It can feel uncomfortable to do this because you feel you should be able to do it all by yourself, but you need to recognise it’s a collective effort. Keep learning and keep reflecting and understanding there are always new things to discover. By doing this it will help your teaching as well - you're learning the things you need, but you’re also practising them too.
Applying for to take part in the Exploratory Research in maths and English research programme, run by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), has been a really positive experience, especially in regards to helping my career progression. I’ve been able to develop my teaching practice in the classroom and it’s given me the opportunity to see the bigger picture and understand how everything connects together.