My educational pathway has been a true, love-hate relationship.

My experience at secondary school was not favourable; I graduated with an average GCSE score and no intention to progress onto college. So at sixteen, I commenced working as a dockworker doing on average fifteen hour shifts. From there I continued with other labouring jobs, such as being a road sweeper, hod carrier, ground worker, dishwasher and factory line assembler. Whilst I was working as a fork-lift truck driver at a timber yard, I had a monumental turning point; I was looking through the job section in the newspaper and I saw an advert for an evening class in B&W photography. This piqued my interest, so I signed up; this turned out to be an AS level course held at the University of Portsmouth. Well I was hooked…

Once I completed this AS Level, I applied to undertake the BA(Hons) degree in Photography at the University of Portsmouth. So, I went from being a full-time labourer one week to being a full-time undergraduate the next. Studying a creative discipline was like a drug; being taught new ways of looking, learning and experiencing; not just in my discipline but the visual world itself was amazing. I went full steam and committed all I had into this new pathway; I was learning not just photography, but many other art disciplines as I could. Towards the end this degree, I was emotionally drained, I had committed my mind, body and soul into my work. Once I graduated, I needed to mentally decompress, so I went back to being a fork-lift truck driver over the summer months.

It was towards the end of 2004 that I had another significant turning point; I was invited to come back to Uni to work as a technician in the photography department. This was an amazing opportunity, I felt like a student again; the people I worked with, the studetns I helped, gave me an immense level of job satisfaction and enjoyment. In 2005, I thought about undertaking a PGCE, but a newly formed, MA Postgraduate Degree in Photography at the University of Brighton enticed me. Undertaking the MA, was like a drug again; the creative possibilities and experience was invaluable, where the practice based skills I gained, I could feed back to my studetns and further enrich their experience.

Over the years, my role at the University of Portsmouth morphed and developed into many other positions, such as a technical demonstrator, multi-sector technician and lecturer. Interspersed with my experience at the University of Portsmouth, I worked at Portsmouth College and Highbury College, which is where I gained my Level 3 PTTLS.

Since 2012, I have also been working for the Open College of Arts as a distance learning lecturer in Photography and Creative Arts, where I am also a unit leader. During my time with this educational provided, I undertook my Fellowship with the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). This was a great opportunity to assess my teaching, learning and assessment methodologies, where I made a comparative study between a ‘Bricks ‘n’ Mortar’ institute and a distant learning model.

At the start of 2017, my employment with the University of Portsmouth ended; I had secured temporary positions at Fareham College and Southampton Solent , which ended last academic year. However, this summer I was most fortunate to gain a 0.6 lecturing post at Fareham College, teaching Graphic Design and Photography to Level 3 learners. As part of my transition and retraining from HE to FE, I’m required to obtain my Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training, which is great as its free!

I’m so glad that I did not pay for the PGCE. 🙂

This brings me to the now, as I write this, it is now week three into the course and it is amazing; lots to do, where I foresee some stressful nights writing essays, but improving my educational practice is imperative as this will improve the learners and my experience on our educational pathway.