Polly Wardle is a sport lecturer for Bristol City Community Trust, teaching BTEC Level 2 and Level 3. She has been teaching for three years and is also a futsal and football coach.
What was your motivation for undertaking QTLS?
I wanted to become higher qualified as a professional and set myself apart from others. I also wanted to have the option to transfer to schools if the opportunity came up. Next year my role is changing to Programme Leader of our new Sports Business and Entrepreneurship degree, so undertaking QTLS has given me more accreditation to support this role.
What did you like about it?
I loved being able to choose what I wanted to focus on within the qualification. The self-assessment enabled me to reflect on aspects of my teaching that I could improve, giving me the autonomy to make my own choices in regards to CPD and do the qualification at my own speed.
How has it benefited you as a teacher/trainer?
I increased my skills as a teacher and this has had a positive impact on my students. I have also completed a Masters module in coaching and mentoring as a result of QTLS. As a result of this I have been better able to support my students pastorally, including mental health issues. I have also kept up-to-date with new technologies in the classroom, increasing learner engagement and motivation – this has beem reflected in the students’ grades. I am also going on to complete a Post Graduate Certificate - both of these progressions in my career helped me to achieve my next role of Programme Leader.
What impact has it had on your practice and your learners?
I have found that students seem to care more about the content of the lesson. They have been asking to do certain activities and it is great to see them so motivated. They love Kahoot Quiz and want to play it every lesson and also enjoy using Padlet, an online programme where multiple students can write up research. These can also be accessed at home, helping to ensure homework is completed on time.
What impact did it have on your organisation?
I created an internal observation timetable, enabling teachers to observe every teacher within the organisation and share best practise. This also allowed teachers to give each other constructive feedback and encouraged colleagues to challenge each other.
What have you learned about yourself?
I realise I have learnt to manage my time well. Fitting in the development of my CPD ideas around my traditional job was hard to start with; however, once I had my head around what is required I found I could juggle multiple things at one time and ensure they link to my intended outcomes
What support did you have to complete QTLS?
I was lucky in that I felt I didn’t need too much support and could do this independently. However, I can see how important a support would be to an individual who is not sure what direction to take with their QTLS and how to achieve their aims. My colleagues supported me by accepting and joining in on new processes I developed for the department and participating with observations, taking time out of their planning and preparation time to do so.
What do you want to do next and how will you continue to develop your practice?
I want to continue with my masters modules and complete my Post Graduate Certificate in Team Coaching. QTLS has reaffirmed the importance of continually upskilling yourself as a professional and staying up-to-date with new processes and technologies.
What advice would you give teachers/trainers who are thinking about undertaking QTLS?
Spend time at the start of the process to you get your head around PebblePad to understand the layout, where to submit information and what is required from you. Look at the resources and example documents that Society of Education provide, they are fantastic. That support really helped me to develop my own ideas and ensured me that I was on the right track with my CPD ideas. I would recommend this to a friend and will be supporting my colleagues through this process next year when it is their turn.