Peter Saban is the Hostage Negotiator Development Manager in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Peter explains how completing Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) gave him added confidence in his teaching style and fulfilled his yearning for a new challenge.
I’ve been a police officer since 1982 and in 2000 I became a negotiator. When I came to retire, my current part-time role with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary came up, so I went for it, and was offered the job. I look after a group of 24 negotiators, which means I recruit, select and train. I also sit the national negotiating training group. Additionally, I am an associate and deliver training at either Level 3, 5, or 7, either for the Institute for Leadership Management or for the Chartered Management Institute.
I came to higher education late in my life, so when I was 40, I got my BA Hons. degree with the University College of Worcester, underpinned by national police training, which was a 13-week course at Harrogate – the central police training school for all trainers.
I also obtained my City & Guilds Higher Education and FE certificate, followed by a Masters in Management. I always really enjoyed studying and I have been involved in training since 1994. In my role as a detective sergeant, I carried out training detective courses with constables, sergeants, and inspectors, within investigation training. I then went on to become an assessor with the Corporate Learning and Development team.
During my wind down from the public sector I took on training and assessing within external training organisations and to date this occupies much of my free time. This exposes me to understanding other organisations and how they operate.
It was around that period in 2009 when somebody mentioned Qualified Teacher Learning Skills (QTLS) status to me, which I felt like it was worth doing. Every year or so, I try and do something new, so after QTLS I felt I wanted a new challenge, and so completed a Level 7 Executive coaching Certificate, after which I saw that Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) was being introduced.
For me, undertaking ATS wasn’t necessarily about trying to gain a new status, it was more that no one had ever really assessed me in my teaching since qualifying. This was a way of confirming that my style was right, whilst trying to learn something new and challenge myself.
ATS forced me to look more closely at my practice, which I haven’t done since I was trained. It also gave me the opportunity to reflect on my practice and talk to a mentor to ask how they would go about doing something. The other thing I benefited from hugely was seeing other people's practice. Observing other people teaching made me ask: “What would I have done differently?” When you’re actually there observing someone, you focus a lot more, so this was a really helpful part of the ATS process.
The other thing I gained from doing ATS was having the opportunity to develop my digital skills. This is exemplified by teaching 25 police officers at two locations at the same time – I like to see if there's a light that's being switched on or not when I’m teaching; facilitating an online session is a bit more difficult, especially when you're doing it remotely, so this was a challenge and brought a different dimension to my teaching style.
If you are going to do ATS you need to be really committed and organised. I am really pleased I completed it because I enjoyed it, and personally, I got a lot from it. It’s made me feel more confident about my delivery and made me think differently about how I deliver, which is probably well overdue. Since doing ATS I have been mentoring a current participant, which has been really rewarding. I understand more now where I was in terms of my teaching style and standard and feel really happy I did it and can support others during the process.