Why we teach…

  • By Sue Keenan @suekeenanQTLA
  • Head of Teaching and Learning: Myerscough College

When the North West TLA Professional Exchange Network first met, we were challenged to decide three things we wanted to work on over our year together. There was conversation about the ever present challenges in Further Education and Skills. We discussed the usual suspects; maths and English, motivating reluctant learners, doing more with less etc etc.

Despite all these ‘real and present dangers’ we wanted to focus some of our thinking and time on teachers. Teachers are the sectors greatest resource, they truly are the front line of education. The experience a learner receives when they walk into a classroom is critical. Teachers have an impact on learners’ lives forever. Everyone has a story to tell about the worst teacher they ever had. Mine was Mr X who spent most of his time smoking in the Art room stock cupboard and gave me 2 out 10 for my drawing of a shoe that I’d spent all Sunday doing, therefore destroying any love and interest in that subject for many years. He didn’t tell me why it was a 2 and what I needed to do to get better – hopefully times have moved on as this was in 1984….

The changing face of the teaching and learning environment - keeping learners at the centre of everything that we do.
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We also all have stories about the best teachers we’ve had – those who inspire us, interest us, and make us want to know more. Many of our choices in life and the routes we take are determined by teachers. Just take a moment to think about the teachers who inspired you and the influence they have had on your career and life choices….

We wanted to think about how to develop teachers’ confidence in a world where too often the focus is on what you haven’t done rather than what you have. We decided to go back to the start and ask teachers to think about why they started teaching and what their high points have been. Group member Lynn Naylor set up a Padlet for partners to contribute to.

Using Padlet to capture why we went into teaching and what we love about it!

We have had some amazing contributions from teachers and reading the Padlet truly is rewarding and inspirational.  Teachers’ comments include:

‘It is rewarding in itself to help students create memories, not just in an academic context but through giving them an experience and the tools to enjoy learning all their lives.’

‘It is also great when students share their knowledge and experiences with you, so we all learn together.’

The importance of looking after ourselves and each other as teachers is perfectly summed up by this contribution.

‘I was motivated by an inspirational teacher myself when I was a student. I thought at the time what a great job it must be and it has proved to be the case.

We’d love to keep our Padlet of ‘Why Teaching?’ growing. Please do take five minutes out of another busy day to add your story https://padlet.com/lynn_naylor/q03s1gqjkzwq

Let’s keep this padlet rolling across the sector and capture the reasons that teaching in FE and Skills is such a valuable job. Feeling confident and empowered about our professional results in a great experience for our learners, and that, after all, is the reason that we teach.