Typical day-to-day activities of an FE teacher
Get some valuable insight into what it’s like to work in FE
To give you an idea of what you can expect if you work in further education, eere are three examples of teachers working in different roles and at different levels of seniority at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.
Georgina Lambrianides Head of Science, GCSE and Modern Languages
Georgina Lambrianides is responsible for the academic progress of 1,200 students in her school. The unusual combination of sciences and modern languages reflects the key academic areas chosen by the London college’s predominantly 16-19 year old students. Many students arrive from school with poor academic results but wanting to progress to higher education.
As the college is on two sites Lambrianides spends time at each centre running meetings with teachers and three curriculum managers who are centre based.
Each working day is driven by priorities. It could be running a staff meeting in preparation for an exam board review visit or listening to the learners’ voice through chairing meetings of student forums. Rigorous management of staff and curriculum has ensured this college department has been rated by Ofsted as “outstanding”.
Lambrianides says her mission is to improve the life chances of the college’s mainly disadvantaged students. “My view is that satisfactory isn’t good enough. We’re looking for above average results. So we are target focused, work oriented and performance driven,” she says.
Checklist of tasks a head of school might be expected to do
Manage staff in your department
- Read computerised management information system MIS data carefully. The MIS produces data for every teacher, every class and every student.
- Ensure student attendance figures are high and investigate the reasons for any fall in attendance.
- Ensure staffing levels are sufficient to cover all of the subjects and courses your department offers.
- Arrange cover for staff sickness absence.
- Recruit teachers to replace staff who are leaving or to teach new classes in subject areas where student demand is increasing.
- Performance manage staff by holding regular meetings with them and annual appraisals at which you set targets for improvement and further development.
- Prepare your department for a review visit from Ofsted/examinations board(s) whose syllabus you are teaching
- Chair pre-review meetings with curriculum managers for forthcoming inspection visit from examining boards.
Improve learner outcomes
- Discuss students’ predicted grades with teachers to keep exam results on track.
- Attend termly learner forums for each class in your department and feed the student representatives’ views back to teachers.
- Listen to constructive criticism and requests from students.
- Deal with any concerns promptly particularly where they involve lack of resources or inadequate teaching.
- Follow up and report back on the actions you have taken to the next learner forum.
Seval Fadil, Course Team Leader, Maths GCSE and A Level
Seval Fadil is responsible for the learning outcomes of 125 students spread over six groups. Three of those groups are at Foundation GCSE level. She teaches two maths groups and liaises with three subject colleagues.
Part of her job is monitoring the progress of each student and Fadil holds regular meetings with tutors to talk over students’ individual learning plans which will incorporate approaches that work best for each student’s learning style.
Fadil is on a mission to rocket boost the exam results of students who have predominantly been failed by the secondary school system. “The first time I meet my learners I say to them, “My aim is to help you achieve the highest results possible. We’re going to work together and I’m going to give you all the support you need.”
In the past year six students have gained sufficiently high grades to be accepted by Kings College University of London to do IT and computing.
Maths teaching is based on a white board with internet connection via a teacher’s laptop. Students and staff have access to a Moodle learning platform referred to by the college as the E-Zone. “Part of my job is to trial new curriculum materials and ensure they are lively and interactive and suitable to the needs of our learners,” she says.
Checklist of tasks a course team leader might be expected to do
Improve student grades
- Introduce new and effective teaching resources
- Informal observation of lessons given by staff in your area and advise teachers on ways they can improve.
- Model best practice by teaching demonstration lessons for staff.
Continuously improve the curriculum
- Review curriculum changes and make sure all staff in your area are aware of the changes and are teaching to the new framework.
- Review and order new curriculum materials especially online or interactive aids.
- Ensure setting is appropriate and that teaching materials are matched to students learning styles.
- Ensure all students are aware of high expectations.
- Give students aspirational targets
- Provide assignments and revision notes for students who have missed time at college.
- Run extension classes outside normal lesson time to prepare students for examination success.
- Assume a pastoral role.
Jeremy Shortall, Lecturer in Music Technology
“The best part of my job is working with young inspiring and talented musicians and helping them achieve their career ambitions,” says Jeremy Shortall.
Shortall teaches two level 2 and two level 3 groups studying for a BTEC in music technology. A career musician who maintains strong links to the music industry, he works with groups of students at a mixing desk or working with sound recording equipment. In a typical day, Shortall could be taking a practical session of 18 - 20 students in the college’s state-of-the-art recording studio where he supervises small groups of students on a DJ or sound engineering course. Or he could be classroom based and teaching a module such as the history of sound recording.
Checklist of tasks a lecturer might be expected to do
- Planning and teaching the music technology curriculum.
- Work with studio technicians to ensure students derive the most benefit from college facilities.
- Establish support network for students by providing pastoral care.
- Work with students on their music on a one-to-one basis.
Keep knowledge cutting edge
- Update skills by training in the latest music mixing software such as Logic Pro or Pro Tools.
Useful links for working in FE
Download a guide about the work available in the FE sector from the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS)
Read this guide to working in FE from Lifelong Learning UK
More articles about teaching in FE
Find a job in further education on TES Jobs
Don’t forget to set yourself up with a job alert for your chosen role so you will get the latest FE jobs emailed direct to your inbox as soon as they become available on TES Jobs. You have to register with TES to set up a job alert but registration is quick and free.