When I finished my science degree in 2012, I did some programming, but then I felt I wanted to explore more about how I could pass my knowledge on to young people, therefore I decided to go into teaching.
First, I applied to teach in a secondary school, but then I changed my mind and decided I wanted to teach in Further Education, which I achieved by completing my PCGE in FE.
My main reason for undertaking Qualified Teacher Learning Skills (QTLS) status was to expand my horizons. I discovered that with QTLS you can work in secondary and Further Education, which was a big draw for me.
At first, I thought I understood most of the QTLS journey, but then I discovered that I was starting to overlook things. That is why I had to re-do it – I discovered there were areas I needed to develop and I realised I didn’t know everything about teaching. As a result, choosing which area I wanted to focus on with my QTLS was a very important step in achieving the status.
My mentor was great at accommodating me when it came to my observations. He gave me some guidelines on how to plan the lesson and he also helped me understand that the feedback was constructive and that was essential in being successful. I also found lots of support via the Facebook QTLS group, which for me, was one of the best ways to get information.
One of my objectives with QTLS was to explore ways we could get our students to experience the employment environment, so that is something that has been kick-started all because of my QTLS journey. I can see that impact on this with my students now that it has now been implemented by organising visits where they can see programmers doing their work and see it in action. They can now see how relevant their course is to work in the industry – it connects what we teach in class and what they will be doing in the workplace. My manager has also noticed a difference in my students’ motivation through them having this exposure to the workplace.
My advice to others considering undertaking QTLS is that, yes, sometimes it will be hard when you are working and trying to do everything, but to be consistent and hang in there and it will work out. You just need to follow the portfolio step-by-step and try not to cut corners. If you do what you say you want to do, you will see the benefits of it.
One of the things I’ve discovered is that I’ve never really had time to reflect on the way I used to teach. After completing QTLS, I’ve found myself thinking more about what has gone well in the lesson, what I did wrong and how I can improve on what I’ve taught today. The lesson I might have taught to a group today may be slightly different to how I’ve done it previously, because I’ve found out something that I wasn’t doing right, and therefore I’ve changed it for the next group.
One of my aspirations for the future is to mentor others to encourage them to do QTLS and explain why they will benefit from this experience. I am also considering undertaking Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) in the future.
QTLS is the badge of professionalism for post-14 education and training. It’s aimed at helping you advance your career and to demonstrate your expertise and experience to your colleagues, employers and learners.Find out more about QTLS