Recently, I finished an Additional Basic Qualification course through Queen’s University while also teaching full time abroad. If you asked me a year ago, when I was a first year teacher, if I would take an online course while teaching I would have said an emphatic “absolutely not: there’s no time!” However, after teaching for a year and finding my feet at my current school, it was easier for me to balance teaching and taking an online course.
While it was not always easy, and I did have to sacrifice some of my free time, I never submitted any of my work late for my course or my teaching – and anyone who teaches in England knows the workload is quite intense – so it’s definitely doable!
Taking on an online course while teaching was also beneficial for my teaching practice. I was able to reflect more actively on my own teaching and what was working and what was not, apply different theories to my teaching practice and alter the arrangement of my classroom to better suit the needs of my students, all as a result of what I was learning in the course.
I have enjoyed learning more about education and loved taking the course so much that I am considering taking another one this school year. Part of why I’ve enjoyed this course so much was because it helped me realise how much I truly love this profession. You might think that’s odd, as actually teaching and being with the students should have that effect; however, while my practical experience is still the best way to learn and enjoyable for me (almost) every day, actually talking to other educators through the online forum and seeing what they wrote and looking at the questions they asked, helped me think differently about my own practice and what I can do to better myself as a teacher.
Thus, if you want to gain more qualifications or you want to reflect more actively on your own teaching practice, I have no reservations about the ability and benefits of taking an online course such as an ABQ or an AQ while teaching.