Dave Galloway celebrating during a sporting activities trip to Lanzarote
The advice was spend three years in your first teaching job - first year you’re learning, second year you're learning and starting to give back, third year you’re still growing but it’s time to move on. Yet Dave Galloway is still at his first college 19 years later. He’s got good reason . . .
How did you become a teaching and learning coach?
I’ve always been a sports and exercise enthusiast and trained extensively in karate, This led me to take a sports studies degree at Southampton University. I’d set my focus on teaching after a positive experience at school and was fortunate enough to join South Downs College in 2001 teaching sport and coaching. Initially, I was coaching karate for just a few hours per week as part of the college's extensive enrichment programme. I then gained my PGCE early on while teaching at the college and continued to coach and compete in karate outside college. As a performer, I reached national level, winning the open weight men's kumite section at the 2010 SKDUN world championships in France. I also took part in numerous projects across the college, became heavily involved in instructor-led training to support teachers and then took on the multi-faceted and ever-changing job of teaching and learning coach in 2014.
What’s your main role?
My time is split between teaching, coaching, project work and pastoral support for students (part of the Southern Universities Network programme - SUNP). Some 30% is spent teaching sports coaching units and physical education from levels 1-3 (vocational sports coaching qualifications), BTecs and straight A-levels (with the main focus on anatomy and physiology). Another 30% goes on coaching and supporting teaching staff across college. The rest is split equally between non-sport specific teaching on a PGCE teacher training course accredited by Portsmouth University and supporting learners to reach their goals and progress through higher-level programmes of study through SUNP.
What makes FE special?
People entering FE may see it as just teaching or managing but there are so many other elements; that’s the beauty of teaching in the sector. FE is not about being shoe-horned into one avenue of work. You can apply for teaching initially - and then it’s what you make of it. Opportunities come up year after year in such a flexible learning environment - whether it’s just changing the different units or programmes you teach on, getting involved in work across college or working on projects with other colleges. One of my proudest projects to be involved in was working on the ‘Teachers’ Takeaway' - a video-based platform built by teachers for teachers to share good practice via videos online. This was part of the OTLA (outstanding teaching, learning and assessment) projects launched by the Educational Training Foundation. So I’ve been comfortable working in one place physically because it’s been mentally so exciting transferring my skills into new areas. Also, regardless of activity, I love the common collaborative goals shared by everyone - from student, parent, coach and lecturer - a desire to do well, enjoy the course and go on to better things.
What’s a typical day?
Every day’s different - it's a mix of teaching, coaching staff across depts in or taking part in collaborative projects with other colleges. I start at 8am, with level 1-3 lessons starting at 9.30am to accommodate teenagers’ different sleep patterns. On my day a week teaching PGCE students in the evening, I finish at 9.30pm and get time off in lieu.
A day’s teaching could be: a 60-minute anatomy and physiology level 2 lesson gearing up towards an external exam; a couple of one-to-one sessions with staff who have had excellent lesson observations - we’d discuss how best to share their best practice with other teachers; travel to another campus for a two-hour A-level PE lesson up to lunch; after lunch, switch campuses for a coaching session with a staff member needing support; then meet with another teaching and learning coach to work on how to apply and write up a bid application for a joint project idea; a PGCE lesson observation in a school or NHS training department and then give feedback and head back to college for a team meeting. I’m always getting brilliant opportunities to watch others teach passionately and to talk about how, what, why they teach and discuss where they want to develop.
How have you coped with the COVID lockdown?
We’ve focused heavily on supporting staff with the Google for Education software suite . . . pre-Covid, we were quite successful in using online collaborative tools for blended learning but when the pandemic left it as our only teaching tool, CPD became intensive! I’ve spent much of my time running one-to-one sessions and seminars, providing bespoke videos of support using a range of Google Education tools and other software such as Screencastify - a brilliant, free add-on allowing screen recordings (eg quick five-minute introductions to tasks for students, setting work and pre-recording lessons you might be teaching.
The three main Google Education tools I've been using are Google Meet (online face-to-face ); Google Hangouts (a communications tool with students); and Google Classroom (a platform for setting, doing and sharing work).
The Covid lockdown has shown how students and staff feel comfortable taking calls online; this has also increased collaboration with other local colleges.
What inspires your students most?
Being empowered with a voice and contributing as part of a collaborative community.
What is one of your biggest challenges?
Lack of time! I’ve never met a teacher who could work harder but we can all work smarter. So I advise on how we can use resources better and learn from others so as to use time more effectively.
Any advice when your students have a bad hair day?
Be aware and understand that everyone has bad days and that a student’s behaviour or action does not represent them or their potential but is usually failure to communicate what the real issue is.
Try to focus on action learning to involve students, remembering they should be working harder than you in class as they are the ones doing the learning. For example, take the biochemistry of energy systems: I will explain it once, hand out key work cards, and get the students to explain it to their peers and, through that, realise if they have understood it right from peer feedback. I might let them use their phones to film themselves explaining it and then upload it to Google Classroom for them to refer back to. That way I need only explain it at the start and finish of the session.
Key qualities needed for the job?
Being good with people, and knowing that the best solutions to problems can only come from individuals themselves; an unwavering belief in other people’s potential; a collaborative approach; an ability to challenge your own practices; compassion.
A degree and then gaining a PGCE teacher training qualification; other coaching qualifications including those organised by the Education Training Foundation; plus a recommended minimum of five years’ teaching experience.
Key question to an interviewee for your type of job?
Why did you first get involved in teaching?
What spurs you on to work each morning?
It’s the people, the students and the teams of staff I am lucky enough to work with . . . and, of course, our annual sports trip to Lanzarote!