Fast-forward to me, aged 34 and I’ve now been teaching for 10 years. Having followed my ambition to become a journalist and finding it far from rewarding, I hesitantly decided to try some part-time teaching in further education. Just to keep me going. Just to tide me over.
The first time I stood up in front of a group and attempted to teach was actually during a job interview at a Further Education college in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I spent the night before trying to concoct something meaningful that I could do with 20 learners within 15 minutes. It was the most nerve-wracking part of quite a gruelling day of interviews, tests and meetings. However, the minute I stood up there and began to talk to those young people, something clicked within me. Something was suddenly right. It really was one of those ‘lightbulb moments’ that you hear about but never imagine would happen to you. They were a forgiving bunch of students, but they laughed at my jokes, answered my questions thoughtfully and joined in with enthusiasm. Those 15 minutes flew by and I walked out of that room knowing that, rebellion or no, I was a teacher. It just felt right in way nothing else had done. Maybe it is in the blood after all?
|My first proper tutor group - during their final show.|
|You never quite know what you|
will find in the classroom!
|With Claire and Michael, who had|
their film about AIDS screened
in the city centre: link
|A proud moment as Michael,|
Gemma, Eloise & Anna see their
film about childhood screened at
the Co-Op Young Filmmakers
|Taking a group of students on a tour of BBC TV Centre.|
In the new year, my team and I will be expected to teach exactly the same amount of content on the curriculum as we have this year, but the time we have with our students will be significantly reduced. Added to this are the new pressures bought about by the influx of learners who, due to the raising of the school leaving age, now have to stay in education until they are 17 (including the many who won’t want to) and the new requirement for all learners in colleges to pass their GCSE English and Maths qualifications within 2 years – even if they have failed to do so after over 5 years of intensive English and Maths lessons at school. Combined with the pressure of short notice inspections, the ever-present threats of redundancy, new contracts that can ask staff to work anywhere within a county or on weekends and evenings without consultation and the strain is beginning to cause some very strong, able teachers to buckle. I see dark times ahead for FE.
|With students waiting to see a TV show being recorded|
This video acts as a form of therapy for the modern teacher.