Tracey Peden describes applying to become a Lead Teacher as “the most challenging yet rewarding process” she has undergone throughout her professional life, including as a former Chartered Accountant.
“The certification process itself provided me with professional development like no other I’ve undertaken,” the Master Teacher at Atherton State School and Tolga State School says.
“It provided me with the opportunity to closely examine, reflect upon and improve my teaching practice,” Tracey says.
“After I submitted my portfolio and reflected on the enormous amount of time and effort I had invested in the process, I believed that no matter what the outcome I had become a better teacher just from engaging in the process.”
“It was an extremely rigorous process and to have been formally certified as a Lead Teacher was a defining moment in my career.”
Tracey, who has been teaching for the past ten years, says she decided to take part in the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher pilot because it gave her the opportunity to formally examine and reflect upon her own teaching practice against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Tracey, a growth mindset advocate, was also seeking a new challenge to improve her teaching practice.
“I didn’t know if I would be successful or not but believed that no matter what the outcome, there would be learnings from engaging in the process and it would put me in good stead for the future,” Tracey says.
“Since becoming certified I have been successful in securing a transfer to the Darling Downs South West (DDSW) region as a classroom teacher. Achieving Lead Teacher certification will enable me to progress my career whilst being on class,” she says.
“Also, the DDSW is a non-pilot region so hopefully I will be able to use my experience to support other teachers through the certification process.”
She says the ability to be recognised as Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher provides teachers with credibility and an incentive to keep doing what they love and enjoy.
“For me, I think it formally recognises the important contribution that exemplary teachers are making to quality teaching, learning and leadership in schools,” Tracey says.
“The certification process enhances the professionalism of teachers; it will encourage teachers to contribute to the advancement of schools whilst being in the classroom — there’s not that need to have to move out of the classroom to do that,” she says.
“I was ready for a change and ready to go back on class and the certification process has enabled me to go back on class, do what I love, but to also lead and to support other teachers.” Tracey, who along with fellow lead teacher Carly Sopronick founded and coordinates their regional Cluster Collaboration Network, also believes the certification process will promote collaboration between schools, and will help teachers if they wish to find employment interstate.
Tracey's tips for applying for Lead Teacher certification:
Start collecting and annotating evidence early.
Allow time to experiment with a process that works for you. There is no right or wrong way of collecting and annotating evidence for your portfolio.
Find a fellow HAT or LT applicant to work with, the moral support you give each other will be very important. Finally, I believe you need good family support.