My ATS experience: Louise Elsby

What motivated you to undertake Advanced Teacher Status (ATS)? 

I felt that I needed a boost to develop my teaching skills. I have been teaching for a number of years and when we went into lockdown, I found I had lost a lot of my confidence. I wanted to use the experience to spend time reflecting on my teaching and to be able to put something back into my organisation. 

Can you tell us more about the research project that you undertook as part of ATS? 

I completed a project on how we track students’ progress. I discovered before I started my project that there were very different practices across the organisation, and I felt a more central approach was needed. My project was to research the different ways that tracking takes place in different departments, as well as the different systems that can be used to complete the tracking. I made recommendations for the use of a particular system that the organisation uses, with further recommendations for training for departments that are not familiar with the system. It was rolled out as a cross-college initiative prior to the start of this academic year, with all departments agreeing to use the recommended system. 


How did you find the ATS process? 

I found the ATS process really helpful to encourage me to make regular time to reflect on my practice. There were some parts that seemed to be a bit repetitive in places, so the ability to cross-reference reflections might be a useful addition to the process. 

What impact has ATS had on your role and your organisation? 

Following completion of the ATS, I applied for a number of new roles within the organisation and was appointed as a Work Force Development Specialist, which means that I am now involved in the training and development of staff and supporting new staff.   

The impact of ATS in the organisation is a positive one; staff members that have completed it all report feeling valued and that the process of reflection allows them to become better teachers. 


How has your teaching practice changed as a result of ATS? 

My confidence has grown as a result of the ATS process. I realised as I reflected that I have been stuck in a rut in my teaching, and by completing ATS, I was able to accelerate out of that rut and develop my teaching practice to use new and emerging techniques more confidently.  

I have always been happy to try new technology but I struggled with behaviour management at times, so my research and practice in this area has improved. 


Do you have any advice to anyone considering undertaking ATS? 

It is a lengthy process and takes a lot of time and energy to complete it well. It is a valuable experience, and it is really important to have a mentor who supports you and understands the process as well.   


Finally, please tell us a fun fact about yourself 

I am big fan of Lego and have many LEGO models and minifigures around my house.