I used to love bank holidays but since I got really busy, it just means I have to squeeze 5 days work into 4 so they’re not super-beneficial anymore. I did enjoy my weekend, but as I’ve been working 6 day weeks recently it just meant I had a real weekend rather than an extended one.
Ran into a bit of a hurricane on Tuesday – there were one or two of my team struggling under pressure with things to do so I took on a couple of jobs I wouldn’t normally do. It was interesting to do them, and I certainly have a good understanding of how time-consuming some of that work is. I’ve put on my to-do to try to streamline some of the processes involved to make it easier for the rest of the team and for me should I need to jump in on those tasks again.
We’re all set to kick of a teacher training course next week. We had a really productive tutors meeting on Wednesday where we reminded ourselves of the challenges we’re likely to face and thought up one or two changes we’re going to try to implement. We’ve finally figured out a way to get a listening into the teaching practices (previously we only had the option to use an authentic listening instead of a reading in the final lesson) so it’ll be interesting to see how that works out. I’m not leading that part of the change project, instead I’ll be trying to make our materials assignment input sessions a little more practical. We’re considering having the trainees analyse all of the materials we use in our demonstration lessons to get them used to breaking them down into their individual components and seeing how they work together. I’m cooking up some kind of checklist-type thing that they can use to analyse them. It’ll probably only look like I want it to after this batch of trainees have used it and I get feedback from them on how to make it work better.
We had a bit of go-forward on our great syllabus redesign project so it’s looking like we’re going to get cracking into it early next week. I’m really happy that I’ve been able to get one of our teachers involved as they were doing a little bit of it before and then we got sidetracked. I feel like it’s a really good opportunity for them, and of course it’s going to help me no end to have someone to power through the legwork of it. They’ll be mostly writing objectives based off the material that’s available, so there’s an interesting challenge there – can you write 4 standalone lesson objectives based off a 2-page coursebook spread? The bigger challenge will come when we have to train teachers in how to work that way – they’re used to having more material than they can go through, this will be the opposite. I feel like it’s the way to go, and the single-objective per lesson opens up opportunities for using success criteria, or bringing in a more task-based methodology, but we still get the structure and stability of having a coursebook as the backbone which our less-experienced (and some more-experienced!) teachers need.
I also had a productive meeting with my IRST partner in crime on Thursday. We’ve got a clear(er) direction and we set a fairly tight deadline for us to be ready for the next stage – I’m hopeful of meeting it, but I’ll need some time to open up over the next week or two to really focus on it. It has the potential to be a good project no matter what, so I’m not too panicked about it yet, but the longer we leave it go, the harder it will be to get it over the line.
Looking ahead, my planner is absolutely jam-packed. I have a small window on Wednesday afternoon, and quite a bit of space on Friday from late-morning on but the rest of the week is chock-a-block. Between doing input sessions on the Cert., teaching model classes and observing the trainees’ first lessons along with trying to stay on top of all the regular work it’s going to be challenging. The next 4 weeks are all about survival and hoping we come out the other side in one piece. There won’t be too much done on any of our longer-term projects, but I do hope to get a proposal or two fired off in that time so at least when the light appears at the end of the tunnel I’ll have a couple of things approved and ready to go.
Things are certainly heating up – lots on and lots coming. It’s a real head-down, shoulder to the wheel kind of period. Feels like next time I look up we’ll be in 2019..
Take it easy,