Ok, here I go! I am wading into the whole QTS debate.
I have very mixed feelings about QTS. You see, I have been on both sides.
Twelve years ago when I took up my first teaching position in England I was considered to be UNQUALIFIED. This is despite the fact that I had a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education (graduated Magna Cum Laude) and had 10 years of successful teaching (I was even my district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year in one of my last years in the USA.)
Finding a job as an UNQUALIFIED teacher was not easy. I was lucky to find a school that was willing to take me on until I got my QTS. However, there were some schools that wouldn’t even look at me. Some looked down on my degree and experience as inferior.
As I said, I was lucky! My first Head Teacher accepted and valued the training and experience I had to offer and supported me to get my QTS. I was also lucky to find a college that also accepted my training and experience and after a bit of form filling, portfolio making and lesson observations, I was awarded QTS. Within months I was Head of KS1, two years later I became an Assistant Head Teacher, three further years I was a Deputy Head Teacher and then, seven years after starting my English career, I was made the Head Teacher of an amazing Primary school.
People ask me how did I do it. I often say I was just in the right place at the right time. I found myself being taken on by a Head Teacher who valued my experience. That set off a chain of events that leads me here today.
Where am I today? I am the Principal of a primary academy that is also a teaching school. We have taken on the whole Schools Direct initiative. The other day I counted more than 35 training teachers that have gone through since I have been here. I value good quality training and do think that teachers need to have the appropriate training.
But, here I am stuck again. I know of qualified teachers from other countries (USA and China) that are high quality educators who are having difficulty getting through the red tape of becoming “qualified” in this country. These teachers have a full four years training as educators. They are ready and willing to teach the children of this country.
Are these teachers inferior to those who have had a one year course in teaching?
It would seem so as few school truly value their experience and don’t sufficiently support these teachers in getting QTS.
You see, I don’t think the whole QTS debate is a clear cut as it seems. People think it is black and white. Maybe we need a grey.