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Feeling A Bit Stagnant?

Five ways to boost your teaching skills when the promotion seems too far away.

Although there may not be an opportunity for a promotion at the moment, Orla Carlin writes about how you can always be prepared for when one comes up.

Orla Carlin Ballet

At times, it may seem like there is little hope of being promoted due to a lack of experience or simply a lack of posts in your current school.  You can like your job but don’t want to become too comfortable.   Sometimes our professional development opportunities are not always differentiated for what we actually need and that’s why it’s important to take initiative on our own sometimes.  If you are feeling somewhat stagnant and feel like you might want to shoot for the stars in years to come, here are five things you can do to give yourself a boost or a head start.

  • As educators, we get a lot of time, and even though this is deserved and we may need rest, it might be a good opportunity to take a few days during the summer or winter break and volunteer in an area that interests you.  It could be shadowing someone in further education or higher education field who lectures in leadership.  Perhaps it might be a good idea to gain experience within another role in education, such as observing a careers counsellor or health and safety officer.  Doing charitable work within education can also allow us to simply teach for the greater good and at the same time get a chance to expose ourselves to those with different backgrounds and educational resources.

  • Make use of Future Learn, it’s free and offers loads of courses such as Spanish, teaching STEM, community journalism, ect.  Not every CPD course has to be about education, as it can always be useful for building our resources and sparking our creativity. How the PD sessions run is excellent because they use quizzes, blog posts, videos and links to additional reading. I recently completed one on mental health for teens which helped develop my interest in wellbeing. Now I use the strategies in other areas of my life, in addition to, in the classroom.

  • Try signing up to be an examiner for AQA or Cambridge examinations.  Although it might be a bit hard to get motivated at first, it really is an excellent way to develop your knowledge of a new curriculum and earn extra cash at the same time.  It ensures you can use the assessment strategies and standardisation processes in your curriculum maps and planning.  As well as this, it can give you an edge in future interviews.

  • Start a Masters, although it seems like a lot of work at first it might be worthwhile doing it over a 3 to 5 year period and that way, it takes the financial burden off.  It also means you will have fewer assignments and less pressure.  Going for new roles can be daunting, but talking about your current studies shows others that you are passionate and driven.  Studying’s not for everyone but if it’s something that is always niggling then maybe it’s time to get searching for courses.  After the pandemic distance learning degrees have got a better reputation and are becoming more of the norm.

  • Take up a new hobby that is completely out of the ordinary but something you really look forward to doing.  For me, that was learning ballet, something I had never tried before.  It was a bit of an adventure going and learning a new skill.  More importantly, though it was a way to engage with mindfulness and have a break which essentially made my job easier. For my future interviews, I might even be brave enough to mention it as an extra-curricular club idea.

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The author

Orla is currently working as an English Teacher and conducting remote online learning sessions. She has experience with the US, UK and UAE national curriculum having worked in the UAE, UK, Italy and Kuwait. For the past 8 years Orla has enjoyed working as a teacher and has focused her efforts on developing strategies for EAL learners. She has undergone various training courses in ESL summer camps in Italy and the UK and it is here she developed effective teaching methods for EAL learners. She spent a short time training teachers in Austria for their TESOL qualification as well as visiting Austrian schools and advising them on new and emerging methods through interactive workshops. She graduated from Queens University Belfast with a 2.1 in her Bachelors, and in addition to this she gained her CELTA qualification so that she could specialise in EAL methods. She enjoyed it so much that she completed her PGCE in PCET through Edge Hill University. She is also a Cambridge Examiner for AS- Level Global Perspectives and it is through this position that she finds new and emerging themes to intertwine with her English teaching. She is highly skilled in the areas of student-centred teaching and utilises Humanistic approaches to teaching.

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