Funny thing. I started writing these posts at the beginning of the last decade, not long after I started college as an advanced practitioner. For those who don’t know, an advanced college practitioner is a type of senior teacher role focused on supporting, training, and developing others. There is a really useful summary of the role and what it means in a college Here . So I find it strange that even though I’ve written a lot that is relevant to the role, I never wrote about the role itself and how she wrote.
Let me start with a direct affirmation – it’s always like this always, a really interesting job. Over the past ten years I have been fortunate to meet and work with people from more or less all parts of FE. Basic, professional, academic, English and math education, and adult and community education. I’ve learned so much about the breadth of learning after 16 years and what it means to individuals, their communities and society at large. In fact, one of the best challenges has been to support groups and individuals with their own practice and see what has become of them.
I have worked closely with a team of advanced practitioners. Such an amazing group of people as I was fortunate enough to meet and a number of managers who were all dedicated and focused and as diverse as the subjects they lead. Piggybacking from the role within the college has encouraged me to look beyond the confines of the institution and connect with people across the country, first through the LSIS (now ETF) Research Development Fellowship in 2011 and through a slew of activities since then , Research led and sometimes more community led, these last two years culminated in the APConnect Project that was not only a large, but also a dynamic and exciting learning curve.
It was of course not without difficult times, but these were also part of the joy. Supporting staff who are struggling with a 4th grade lesson and reversing the emotional impact of the violated professional trust that caused this grading is one of the things that has stayed with me all the way, but it was a real pleasure to participate in group discussions on how to get rid of this harmful system. And watch, no portionThis includes teachers moving from a position of reduced confidence to a position where they can kick their ass in the future. It was an exciting challenge to assert oneself against systems developed for the FE mainstream and constructively (mostly) find ways to make them more suitable for the departments I support.
But all things have to pass, as they say, and it’s time I put my coach hat on. The reasons are many, but at the top is that I want the time to myself to focus on my own teaching practices for a while – be professionally selfish if you like and reconsider some development opportunities that might arise from my first love, my area of expertise. None of this means that I don’t want to take on the role of the advanced practitioner again, only that I now have a chance to look a little, think, and concentrate.
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