Wanting to demonstrate my long term commitment towards promoting and encouraging others to understand the impact Geography has within education and the life’s of young people was a major driving force behind applying to become a Chartered Geographer.
Since joining the teaching profession in 2011, I have taken on additional roles which have allowed me to demonstrate evidence across the 4 themes specified to become a Chartered Geographer; Apply geographical skills, knowledge and understanding, Innovate, Act professionally and Communicate and influence. Getting to this conclusion took the best part of two years' worth of reflection, allowing me to identify the subject specific experiences that I have been exposed to during my length of service within education which would support my application; from fieldwork to mentoring and supporting trainee and teaching staff. It is important to note I did not deliberately go out of my way to carry out these activities to benefit my application but were taken as part of the natural progression which my role as Subject Team Leader required in order to develop my teams subject knowledge, and departments progress, over time.
As I reflected, I realised that whilst my subject knowledge has constantly evolved, my teaching pedagogy (identifying ways to make this tacit knowledge applicable to pupils using their personal breath of geographical understanding) also grew, demonstrating innovation but also a desire to use the latest research to benefit my teaching. This journey over time, in itself, highlighting several of the themes required. It was by taking the time over two years to really reflect on my experiences of teaching thus far which spurred me on to apply for accreditation.
It was over the first lockdown in 2020 that I decided to apply. Firstly, I attended a webinar which went through the process before building the confidence to send my CV and CPD log to the RGS for a free review. After receiving feedback, I put together my Professional self-evaluation (PSE) statement which allowed me to demonstrate my experiences and they supported my application before putting forward two professional references. When selecting references, I identified my manger (who understood the level of subject development, enhancement and mentorship I had completed in school) and a reference from a previous member of staff I had professionally supported to become a Head of Geography. An application for Fellowship was also made (something I had been thinking of applying before so it was nice to be able to do it as part of the process)
Achieving Chartered Geographer accreditation has allowed me to formally demonstrate my dedication to the discipline whilst also allowing others to formally acknowledge the work that I have undertaken to keep my subject alive since opting for it in year 9 (2002!). By putting this application together, I have been able to fully understand the impact these experiences have had on me and has allowed me to start thinking about using the accreditation to join one or two of the focus groups the RGS has to offer which would then allow me to take a role in helping to improve the uptake of future geographers by participating in the current development of geographical research engagement in ITT and geographical strategies which could be used to enhance teaching and learning pedagogy.
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