Avoiding the trap of QTS

This will be a little hard to write because it all happened so recently I perhaps don’t have the distance from it to be all that critical. But I’ll give it a bash none the less.

I’ve worked at my school for two and a half years now and I really enjoy it. Beside from the usual things that get you down at work I don’t have a lot of complaints. My employer is very supportive and I have been given opportunities there that I would struggle to find at other schools. So no worries there.

The only thing that I find hangs over my head like a black cloud to me is the way others, in particular the students, negatively view my job. Let’s get a few things straight: all teenagers think they know it all. I thought I did too when I was the same age, I can’t really blame them for that. They think I stamp books all day (sometimes I do, to be fair) and when I feel self concious about my profession I get defensive and start ranting on about the kinds of qualifications you need to be a librarian. We’re talking here about GCSEs, A Levels, a degree and then a post grad qualification to top it all off. Add onto that a chartership for most as well. When I tell them this they are literally astonished I would choose to spend my time doing that job when I could be somewhere else making more money.

I’m going to be brutally honest here. Yes, I could make more money somewhere else. That’s a fact. I also, however, don’t particularly want to and I see that as being more important. So, we’ve identified that although I don’t use a lot of what I learned at post grad level I don’t really mind because I’m doing a job I enjoy. Most normal people could accept that.

I’m not most people, and I am certainly not normal. No, I became so, so disheartened by comments like that to lead me to consider becoming a qualified teacher, to the point I even started filling out the UCAS application. I didn’t want to feel second rate any more. I could be a teacher if I wanted to and I would show them all!

Nearly all my friends at work are teachers and I spoke with a few about it. One was very encouraging with a devil-may-care attitude of ‘Go for it, what’s the worst that can happen?’. Most tried to warn me off. One in particular who knows very well could see I was doing it for totally the wrong reasons and I would say he was the one who talked me out of it. He knew if I went down that path I’d regret it, not stick to it and, basically, it would tear me apart.

So, to coin an expression used by the kids, I binned it off. I thought very hard about it and I decided that although comments like that do upset me I am far from the only one who experiences them. To throw away my career for the sake of some misguided opinions is a catastrophic mistake, and the best thing to do is not to be a poor teacher but to be an excellent librarian instead. I’ve rediscovered my love of the profession again and remembered what it is that drew me to it in the first place. I’ve thrown myself into chartership, started planning my own CPD and made steps to link with other professionals.

I hope I don’t lose sight again of who I am, and that I don’t stop remembering that what I am doing is important.

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9 thoughts on “Avoiding the trap of QTS

  1. I started out with a PGCE, got hideously burned (lack of support, poor school, joy-riders drove a car into my house leaving me homeless and car less and I got told to go to work!) Anyway, I ran away from teaching and the thought of working in a School was very scary.

    I’m glad to say… I love it! However, teaching is very different from being a librarian and it’s generally positive differences. If you really fancy it, try being a teaching assistant – I wish I’d tested it first.

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    1. Thank you, I wish I’d realised it earlier!

      Drove into your house?! That sounds like a total nightmare!!! I don’t think I’d be in any state to go into work if someone drove into my house!

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  2. I have moments where I wonder what on earth I’m doing this for, I earn about the same, if not less, than the starting grades of our graduates. But, I enjoy it, and I earn “enough”. I’ve earned more and been unhappy, I’ve seen my Dad loathe being a teacher, but it’s still hard to see a lack of recognition in my pay packed every month. Part of me suspects we’re badly paid because we all do it for the love of it – our own worst enemies!

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  3. You must read a lot of books — is the standard response I get when I say I am a librarian – a bit like your – “you stamp books all day” I think we librarians need to accept we are misunderstood and probably undervalued and underpaid but as you say.. we do it because by and large (some exceptions :)) it makes us feel good!

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  4. I had exactly the same comments by students as a library assistant. Hilarious: ‘Ma’aam you could do better than this, you’ve got qualifications!’ ‘Don’t you get bored in your job?’ ‘You know you’re job will be made redundant by computers, don’t you? and even a teacher made a similar comment as I was applying spine labels ‘Don’t you get fed up doing that? as I scowled and reminded her that it’s not the only part of my job she then replied, in an attempt to make me feel better ‘Yes, sometimes I’d like to sit still and at a supermarket check-out and scan groceries all day’. Charming… often think I could work back in the private sector and earn more back in banking & industry but then, I was really bored out of my mind. The appreciation for librarianship by its users doesn’t follow until years, maybe decades, after. Love the post and your honesty! Glad you’ve stuck to what you love.

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