As a first-year teacher at Thornton Public School, Alarna said QTR had given her direction, helped her build positive relationships with colleagues, and made her a better role model for her students.
“I think as a beginning teacher you come out of university, you’ve got this degree, but you walk into the classroom and it’s hard to know exactly what to do,” Alarna said.
She appreciated the opportunity to go into other classrooms and observe the practices of other teachers. That experience, and having a framework against which she could evaluate their performance and her own practice, gave her “a really clear direction about what quality looks like in the classroom”.
Taking part in Quality Teaching Rounds also helped her build positive relationships with other teachers.
“As a new teacher and coming into such a big school, it was hard to find my feet,” Alarna said.
“Just to have that network, a quality network, it was relationship-building. They’re people I go to for help and advice.”
Alarna, a Stage 1 teacher, said that without Quality Teaching Rounds she would have not been “talking and liaising with Stage 3 people”. Because of their shared professional development experience, Alarna has developed good relationships with other teachers and has “friends at work”.
Alarna said that she had become a better role model for her students by demonstrating how teachers, too, can be lifelong learners.
“It’s that constant drive for improvement,” Alarna said. “If I can have focus areas to reflect on what I’m doing, it’s going to make me a better teacher in the long run.”
She said Quality Teaching Rounds had demonstrated to her that, as a teacher, “you’re constantly learning” and in regard to her students “I’m learning just as much as they’re learning”.
Thornton Public School is a large public school with more than 700 students half an hour from Newcastle. The school has been progressively embedding Quality Teaching Rounds since 2018 when it joined several other schools to form a Professional Development network and Quality Teaching Rounds is now part of the school’s strategic plan.