SET for Teaching Success: Rachel Manoharan

Rachel Manoharan is working as a Mechanical Engineering Lecturer at Derby College.

Why did you choose to teach in Further Education and work with the SET for Teaching Success programme?

I believe that Further Education is the genuine start of the formative years. It moulds and shapes you in the subject where your true passions and interests belong. The SET for Teaching Success programme was introduced to myself and my colleagues by our head of department. SET has been incredibly instrumental on my journey and training as a lecturer in Further and Higher Education. SET has been resourceful and diligent in providing not only training materials but also organised events where teachers such as myself can network and share with other teachers from other colleges.

What do you like about teaching in Further Education?

Teaching in both FE and HE gives you flexibility for promoting higher skills such as critical thinking. I enjoy teaching my students to develop these skills and encourage them to analyse their subject knowledge and research. I also enjoy challenging my students and have academic discussions with them as they have so many interesting views and ideas that always need to be heard.

Further Education is also a time and place where students are no longer considered children and are growing up as adults. To see my students grow up in a small amount of time is very moving and I feel proud to see these unique and inspirational young men and women flourish not just in their education, but also in their employability skills and their individual personalities. And when they leave college for a job, apprenticeship or to attend university, it makes all those long days of work truly worth it.

What have been the benefits so far from the SET for Teaching Success Programme?

The SET for Teaching Success Programme has been very supportive for my role as a teacher, especially since I had not taught before. Being able to network with so many different people from the education sector has been very beneficial. We learn a lot from each other and it’s always nice to know that other teachers go through the same hurdles and difficulties that I face and to learn they overcome their problems. The invited speakers at events are so knowledgeable and informative that all you want to do is go back to your classroom and experiment with new ideas that you have just learnt.

What do you see yourself doing in the future?

I want to continue my career as a lecturer and hopefully move into a university role. I would also like to take time for myself to do a PhD and satisfy my academic curiosity. I do hope I get the opportunity to work in industry, no matter how short-term, but I am rather happy and feel rewarded training the engineers of tomorrow.