Teaching experience

In the beginning

Teaching was always in my blood. My first teaching experience was as a teenager when I visited a village school and took the needlework class. It was a small school and there were only 6 girls in the class so they made a lovely easy group to work with.

My next class was very different. There were no girls in the school. There were two primary schools side by side, one for girls and one for boys. This time I was doing maths with them including helping them learn to tell the time.

I realised that teaching children was not really my strength but teaching was still what I wanted to do. I was not sure what to do so I changed from doing a specialist teaching degree (a BEd) and started a general degree.

The aim was to do a PGCE to qualify as a teacher when I finished. Life did not happen like that and by the time I finished and my priorities had been diverted to spending time at home with my new family.

Moving on

You would have thought that doing a degree in local and regional studies concentrating on history and geography that the first subject that I taught adults would be something fairly academic. Wrong the first course I taught adults was IT.

I did a training for work course for graduates where I gained my first IT qualification. I had done a basic introductory course, so basic there was no proper certificate. After a 10 week full time course that covered a wider range of topics than was needed for the certificate there came the time to find work experience. This was how six months after starting to use a PC I found myself teaching others how to use computers because I was providing a long-term cover for an absent tutor.

Life got out of the way and I finally had the opportunity to train as a teacher. About 15 years after I had originally intended I gained a PGCE. I was not qualified to teach children but rather to those over 16 i.e. adults.

What I have taught and where

Over the years there were many short term contracts that came my way, mostly for IT related subjects. I have taught CLAIT classes and City and Guilds courses. Then there were the more unusual things like the IT for parents course and the course on using a scanner. I have assessed paper based IT NVQ portfolios for a sixth form college and electronic assignments using an online system.

I have delivered IT classes in schools, colleges, community centres even done staff training in a hospital. Some learners have been teenagers and others have been in their 80s. Some learners have had additional challenges like dyslexia or arthritis. I have even been known to support those using a lap top bought for use in a drop in that I was running for people struggling with their mental well being.

Some my teaching experience has not been related to IT at all. I spent nearly 3 years teaching Religious Studies covering the ethics and philosophy papers with a Christian bias. They say the best way to learn is to teach. That was certainly true then as before I knew little about abortion, euthanasia, cloning, business ethics, and I had forgotten a lot of what I had done in philosophy classes as well. I had to learn and learn quickly to stay ahead of the students. My qualifications in that area revolved around Bible-based studies and church history hence the mismatch.

However the tide turned and it became increasingly difficult to find that kind of short term contract. That was when I started thinking about setting myself up in business. After that I did some support work and that included using teaching skills.

Now I am in Wales it is harder to find a teaching job unless you have a basic working knowledge of Welsh.

More recently I have been gathering the resources necessary to set up online courses. The aim is to develop online training.