Stephanie Tomlinson, a teacher from Queen Elizabeth School, took part in a teachers-in-residence placement at global creative agency, Bulletproof in London. This case study explores the impact it had on her and her students and the benefits to Bulletproof.
Stephanie Tomlinson works at Queen Elizabeth School, a state-selective grammar school for boys. Known for its exceptional academic performance, the school boasts a thriving technology department, which Stephanie leads. The department has earned high regard within the school and has consistently achieved impressive GCSE and A-level results.
Discovering Teachers in Residence
Stephanie was initially drawn to the Teachers in Residence program due to its unique focus on bridging the gap between education and industry. Stephanie was eager to explore a world that was unfamiliar to her and to further develop her understanding of the industry. Her commitment to the opportunity was evident when she decided to dedicate her school holidays to the experience.
Stephanie’s Experience at Bulletproof
Before arriving at Bulletproof, Stephanie wasn’t sure what to expect. However, her interactions with Debbie, the talent partner at Bulletproof, left her with a sense of curiosity and a feeling of interest from the company. Stephanie’s apprehension about fitting in quickly dissipated as she found a friendly and welcoming environment upon arrival. The vibrant and creative atmosphere, complete with neon light artwork and a buzzing energy, made her feel right at home.
The First Day and Beyond
Stephanie’s first day involved meeting Debbie, having coffee with the senior leadership team and engaging in laid-back conversations about her story. The agency’s approach to getting to know her on a personal level stood out and fostered a sense of value within the organisation. Over the course of the three days, Stephanie had one-to-one discussions with various employees across all levels, ranging from HR to 3D design, which allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of the different roles and opportunities available in the industry. She enjoyed meeting the diverse creative talents at Bulletproof, which reinforced her belief that everyone has a place in companies like this, regardless of their specific skill set.
Professional Development and Classroom Transformation
The Teachers in Residence program proved to be an invaluable professional development opportunity for Stephanie. It provided her with a wider perspective on the industry, allowing her to bring back real-life applications and a sense of fun to her classroom. Inspired by her experience, Stephanie transformed her classroom into a design consultancy, where students could engage with technology in a meaningful and exciting way. The emphasis shifted from a typical instructional approach to one focused on practical skills and the importance of enjoying the learning process.
Reflecting on the Journey
The experience ultimately reinforced her passion for education while keeping the door open to potential future networking opportunities in the design industry. Stephanie believes it is healthy for her students to know that her love for design is still present, as it showcases the authenticity and ongoing pursuit of personal and professional growth.
The Teachers in Residence program offers teachers the opportunity to gain a first-hand experience of a working design agency, lifting the lid on all the career opportunities and enhancing their professional development. Stephanie Tomlinson’s experience at Bulletproof demonstrates this.