Ruby Ali

Teacher of Religious Studies, King Edward VI School Lichfield
PGDipEd Religious Education (QTS), 2020

I chose to pursue teaching at the University of Birmingham because the course is unique in offering a PGDipEd. This meant that I would gain a QTS with an additional 120 credits of a Masters in Teaching Studies and the option of returning to complete the remaining 60 credits of the Masters. 

This really appealed to me as it meant that I could gain more knowledge, experience and qualification in a shorter amount of time. Furthermore, I also completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham and had a fantastic time. The University of Birmingham experience is nothing short of a Harry Potter dream and the city quickly became my second home. 

What are your fondest memories of your time at Birmingham?

One of my fondest memories was meeting my friends in the cohort for the first time, after which we made many memories on campus, like running for pizza and ice cream in our lunch breaks, the laughter’s of role playing classroom scenarios with the cohort, to being inspired and challenged by external speakers. In sharing our excitement, nerves and personal stories, I’ve made some incredible friends that have made my Birmingham experience truly special.

Describe your current role and organisation

I’m currently a full-time Teacher of Religious Studies at King Edward VI School Lichfield – a large comprehensive school, recognised for its strong heritage and alumni dating back over 500 years. I am one of five RS teachers at the school and a Form Tutor to Y9s. I am very lucky to work in a department that is well-established, as it means that I can build on the ideas already founded as opposed to reinventing the wheel. It has also given me the opportunity to focus on improving my teaching in the classroom and other educational opportunities outside of it. For example, I co-host Teach Meet Religious Studies Icons – a CPD event for RS teachers nationwide.

Describe your career journey from a Birmingham student to where you are today

The journey from being a student to a full-time teacher has been steady and progressive. The main reason why I took a university route to teaching as opposed to a graduate scheme is because university had the balance of theory and practice, which meant that the leap to employment would not be too daunting. Given that this is my first full-time employment, I needed to ensure that my journey was steady and progressive, to allow myself to build confidence as opposed to taking the challenge head on.

What has been the most extraordinary or memorable day on the job?

My most memorable times on the job have always been the unexpected. My favourite of them was the last week of my first term of teaching. I remember sitting at my desk marking whilst my Y11s finished off their revision tasks. The Head of Year 7 barged in, said: “You should check your pigeonhole more often”, smiled, and left a stack of rubber-banded cards on my desk. They were ‘thank you’ cards from my students. I have never re-read anything more than the messages on those cards. As an NQT teacher, nothing could fill me with more joy than knowing that a child enjoys school, the subject and is happy because you are their teacher – oh and that I was the teacher that received the most thank you cards!

Ruby AliWe Are (Third Width)

Ruby's advice

“Always remember that teaching is a journey. Don’t seek perfection, seek progress, because education is always changing as knowledge continues to develop, so be open to adapting.”