Jacqui Aldrich on What It Means to Be A DT Teacher
Jacqui Aldrich is a vital member of the Harris Initial Teacher Education team. As our Secondary Phase Lead, Practical Faculty Lead and Central South Mentor Lead, Jacqui leads on secondary Design & Technology training and development and quality assurance across the secondary Harris School Direct programme. She runs sessions on almost every training day at Harris Academy Bermondsey, and performs observations in placement schools. A former Senior Leader and Advanced Skills Teacher in challenging London schools, Jacqui is a passionate and practicing Design & Technology teacher and Lead Practitioner.
'I recently read articles by John Howson and DATA which highlighted, again, the need for teachers training in Design Technology and the sad shortfall that we are currently facing in the subject. I have been a DT teacher for 11 years this year and I’ve loved every minute, so I thought I’d spend some time reflecting on that in order to share my experience and what it means to me.
My degree is in Sustainable 3D Design and over the 4 years I studied I relished the frequent opportunities to be in the workshops engaging with a huge variety of materials: from recycled carpet and hand dug clay combined to create innovative, but not always successful, products; melted glass and reclaimed metals; and not forgetting the more traditional woods and plastics too. I have worked in both mixed and single gender schools in South East London for my training and my career and have been honoured to work with so many young, creative students. It has always been about inspiration, creativity and freedom of expression in design, learning ‘how’ as well as ‘what’ and I think that is what makes the subject so relevant and exciting today. It was, and still is, my passion for design, materials and technology and my curiosity about how everything worked that lead me to teaching - to sharing that passion with young people and encouraging them to celebrate their own creativity and flair for design. DT teachers invest in the future of design, of technology and creativity in industry.
We are living in an age where incredibly sophisticated and accessible technology is part of our daily lives. Young people don’t think twice about using social media or virtual reality for fun but they don’t always consider how it could be a part of a working, creative future. It is the job of the DT teacher to show them. As a DT teacher, it is vital for us to be able to inspire, to keep up with technological developments and continue to learn so that we can teach. I have been able to spend my career in the workshop, doing what I love surrounded by inquisitive, creative and often brilliant young minds. Don’t get me wrong, DT is not for everyone and so sometimes we need to be able to use the subject to catch the attention and interest of someone who is initially disengaged, but with food, textiles, graphic and electronic products, CAD/CAM or a huge range of resistant materials to tap into, you can usually find something!
To me being a Design Technology teacher is exciting, expressive and ever evolving and I look forward to the future.'
Read more about Jacqui.