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Welcome to Way Out West your unofficial guide to living, working and studying in the west of the province

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#WOW At South West College, we love to showcase our talented and what they got up to at and away from work. As we continue to teach and work remotely, we’re doing this by asking them five questions about their roles at SWC and there passions away from work. First up, is Fey Cole.

Tell us a bit about your role within South West College and your time here?

My main role is as an Early Years Lecturer, teaching both FE and HE. It is a joy to work with so many students and to see them progress in their path of working with children. I maybe a little bit biased, but it’s hard to beat such an amazing group of lecturers that is found within our EY team!

I’m also a Teaching and Learning Advisor for the Confucius Hub, which allows me to support the teachers who come to work with us from China. I support the curriculum conference or other CPD days for lecturing staff, as well as reflecting on how NI and Chinese teaching practice can compliment one another.

I’ve been at SWC for ten years now, initially on a part time basis but now I think I might be part of the furniture! A huge highlight for me has been the impact of our project based learning initiative: The intergenerational Café. It has brought so many from our community together and allows us to explore how to assess learning in new ways. It was an added bonus to get to the finals of the AoC Beacon Awards last year with this. One of the biggest highlights though is seeing students start to believe in themselves and gaining confidence. I love to hear their creative ideas and see their progression.

How have you found the transition to working remotely?

It has not been easy but I am so thankful to students for embracing this period and working so hard. Our community is still there. I’ve completed a huge amount of CPD and have learnt so much in-house but also externally through networks such as JoyFE – a group of FE lecturers across the UK who share learning and best practice in a positive and supportive way.

Home schooling has not been easy whilst working but, anyone who knows me knows I don’t stress too easy. It’s been great to get the opportunity to showcase our work over lockdown on international platforms, I’ve presented at conferences online in Hong Kong, America and across the UK. There is an opportunity now to take the best aspects from blended learning approaches and strengthen FE even more.

The main thing I miss from being on campus are the chats! Wandering into our class LG25 and finding something exciting happening, getting a talk with students about something we’ve all watched on telly or a debate around a topic we are learning about. Also talking to the wider community, there are so many good people at SWC.

What passions do you have away from work?

My family are my main focus outside of work. We love being outside and exploring. I am a bit of a geek, I find myself doing a lot of studies and learning around FE/EY in my own time too. But if I’m asked if I want a day at the Port, I’m away! I tend to read a few books on the go. Currently I’m reading Brene Brown’s ‘Dare to Lead’, Nancy Kline’s ‘I won’t interrupt you’, then Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Shadow’ with my son. Such a good book. You’ll also find me reading ‘The Hobbit’ for children at the moment over on my FB page: Mrs C’s Early Years Education Forum.

If you could host three famous people (living or dead) at a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Robert Winston, I am so interested in his work. George Michael, he did a lot of good community work behind the scenes and he also sings so would bring the music! Margaret McMillan, a pioneer of Early Years education and also set up the first outdoors UK nursery in my family’s home town of Deptford, London.

Where is the first place you’re going after lockdown?

As soon as I can, I’m flying to England to see my family there. I miss them desperately. You’ll definitely see me around town, we won’t be in the house much! Can’t wait to get dinner dates back in the diary with friends!

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