My QTLS experience: Jamie Blanshard

What motivated you to undertake Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS)? 

After completing my level 5 Diploma, I took some time to just focus on my role of being a teacher. During this time I looked into the QTLS programme, and from my point of view, it seemed like the next logical step in my own personal development. 

How did you find the process and what did you like about it? 

The whole process overall was quite straightforward, from gathering the evidence to completing the online portfolio. The videos provided were a very good resource in helping me complete the portfolio.  

My mentor was very supportive and a really important part of the whole process. Professional discussions and observations highlighted aspects of my teaching that were being done well but were also useful in highlighting other areas to explore within my teaching that I could then bring into the classroom. 

What has undertaking QTLS taught you about yourself? 

Two things stand out for me in particular: one aspect is how important my role of engaging with employers and stakeholders is. Undertaking QTLS made me realise that without engaging in these activities, and actively looking to improve upon them, you reduce the opportunities for your learners to gain industry-specific experiences, and in turn, give them a better chance of a positive destination on completion of their course. 

I also learnt that I need to be more flexible and need to be able to integrate other teaching styles into my lessons, not just my preferred style. 


What impact has QTLS had on your practice and learners? 

The whole QTLS process, including the critical reflection, the observations and the professional discussions with my mentor, was really useful. It made me look back on how I was planning, delivering and assessing my students.  

The QTLS programme, along with the support of my mentor, really gave me the opportunity and confidence to explore other methods of planning, teaching and assessment strategies within the classroom. 


What impact has QTLS had on your organisation? 

During the Professional Formation period, I have been involved in meetings with employers and other industry-specific companies, such as open days held here at the college, and by taking part in a presentation about our green energy classroom at Seawork’s Boat Show. These activities have attracted employers to come into the college to talk to students about their companies and possible career opportunities they have on offer. Also, undertaking QTLS gave me much more confidence in supporting new team members during their first experience of teaching. 


What are you going to do next and how will you continue to develop your practice? 

I plan to carry on my CPD based on my final action plan. The good progress made on working with employers is continuing with companies who have visited the college and delivered talks, and we are offering interested students the chance to visit their workplace too. 

I am looking to develop my coaching and mentoring skills, with the aim of inspiring students to set challenging but achievable targets in their course.  

My longer-term goal is to develop my skills in working with SEND students, and as pointed out in my final professional discussion, integrating their requirements fully into my lessons. 


What advice would you give teachers/trainers who are thinking of undertaking QTLS? 

As a teacher, it would be incorrect of me to assume I know everything, as this job requires me to constantly look back at what I have done well, and what I would do differently next time. For me, undertaking QTLS was an important step in my teaching career; it really got me to focus on the reflective aspect of teaching, not only in the classroom but outside of the classroom as well. 


Finally, please tell us a fun fact about yourself! 

I used to live in Tasmania and on multiple occasions I opened the driver’s door to my work van to find a Huntsman spider hanging around! 



Teacher Helping A Student In A Digital Class

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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.

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