I’m a member of the Society for Education and Training (SET) and this last year I undertook professional formation at Barnsley College to gain my QTLS.  (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills).

This is my third academic year teaching in the FE sector. In my current role I am teaching in the department of Health Sciences at another college. I have occasionally guest lectured on degree courses at both Colleges and Universities; something I hope to delve into further.

Why was I interested in QTLS?

Our students deserve a high quality of teaching and learning.  Obtaining QTLS forced me to find out where I was professionally, and what I needed to work on. It’s very important that the professional body in FE allows educators to be involved in maintaining professional standards, and to progress in their profession/field.

Obtaining QTLS status to a high standard and being recognised for this status gave me a confidence boost. As a teaching practitioner it has allowed me to not only deliver outstanding teaching and learning to my students but also has given me the confidence to run workshops for other teaching practitioners and share methods of good practice.

The QTLS process was a great one, it acted as a reflective log.  I’m now able to highlight key achievement with ease and ask for guidance from others where needed.

I got good support from my mentor and colleagues, and my employer kindly allocated time for me to be able to produce my QTLS portfolio.  I also received excellent support from the SET team.

Personally I enjoyed the process of undertaking professional formation. The ability to navigate through the website suited my way of working.  The Reflect+ portal does what it says- it gave me the opportunity to reflect in a manner I have not done previously. It allowed me to take on board my areas of development and discuss how these areas are of importance within the sector.  It enabled me to make relevant changes and reflect again on how effective these may have been. Also, it gave me the opportunity to recognise my achievements.

Action research was something introduced to me when completing my PGDip in lifelong learning. However, the real application came when I was carrying out action research on a regular basis in my teaching practices and logging this through my QLTS portfolio. I frequently change my teaching styles and take on board student feedback to meet their needs- something benefitting both my learners and myself.

So, I learned that I’m not just an academic who keeps up to date with her subject area and research but I’m also a teaching practitioner who aims to efficiently help her learners achieve to the best of their abilities.

Those that are afraid of blogging and using the website need not be. All associated QTLS information can be downloaded from the website with ease.  The support for navigating around the website from both the SET team and colleagues at your work place will make the process so much easier for you.

QTLS makes you stand out.  I found the affirmation to work on progression whilst in the workplace, and meeting the professional standards raises your profile. It’s like you’re reclaiming professionalism as a teaching practitioner or a trainer; you feel a sense of ownership of professional practice with the status. I’d certainly advise others to undertake it.

All this to help my students to benefit, to attain excellent pass marks and go onto study further, or to relevant places of work.

SET not only benefits its members but raises the profile and status of us in FE.  SET has given me opportunity to challenge myself and my practice.  Having a professional body like SET is key for the sector and the opportunities they provide for being a member are many- the QTLS being a starting point for me.  

Saba Shafiq, member of the Society for Education and Training (SET)

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