Essay: Reflective Practice and Professionalism

From the Archive. 

This is my Module 4 assignment for my Dtlls qualification. Its over 2000 words long, so I understand if you don’t read it all.

Afterwards you’ll see the feedback I received.

Your comments also welcome.

Be Seeing You

 

Reflect on your status as a professional in the Lifelong Learning Sector and how you manage your professional roles and responsibilities. Show how you have used theories of Reflective Practice to identify a specific area for development in your subject specialist teaching. Based on your own research into the subject specialism, design a new activity/ session that will engage and challenge your learners. Implement this activity/session with one group of learners and then evaluate its success and limitations.

 

In this essay I will provide a definition for what Reflection is and an understanding of the concept of both professionalism and dual professionalism. I will reflect on my own reflection process and my roles and responsibilities as a professional in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Finally I will evaluate three models of reflective practice and use those models to develop a part of my subject specialist teaching.
When discussing how reflective practice can be used to inform Continuous Personal Development (CPD), changes to subject teaching or to create a sense of professionalism, it is important to first have a useable definition of what reflective practice is; the etymology of reflection comes from the Latin reflectere which means,
‘to bend back’, meaning a remark made after turning back one’s thought on the subject, and dates from the 17th Century.
Available: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=reflection Last accessed 25th Nov 2012.
or to use the lyrics of Michael Jackson;
‘If you want to make the world, a better place, take a look at yourself, and make a change.’
Michael Jackson (2012). Man in the Mirror. Bad 25th Anniversary Edition: EMI.

Though here it would be a metaphorical mirror, Geoff Petty (2009, p. 336) refers to the learning process as cyclic and indefinite and this is true of many views of reflective practice, a cyclical process, most commonly referred is Kolbs Cycle which we will critically analyse in the next paragraph along with Schon’s ‘Theory in Use’ and Brookfield’s ‘Critical Lens’, now that we have our definition of what Reflective Practice is.
With a working understanding of what reflective practice is, we can analyse three different models to ascertain their effectiveness with CPD, subject teaching or professional roles and responsibilities. The first model will be the experiential learning cycle, developed by Kolb as referred to by Geoff Petty (2009, p. 336) states that;
a Concrete Experience will be followed by Reflection on that Experience, followed by abstract conceptualism, then a plan of active experimentation which takes us back to concrete experience and on again.
Petty (2009, P. 336) believed that following this cycle would,
‘Maximise the learning that takes place from experience’
The cycle is clear and effective, if used, Abstract Conceptualisation requires teachers to become what Well (1986, p221) referred to as ‘theory builders’ cited (Petty, P.517), but many stop studying Pedagogy once they are qualified, resisting non mandatory CPD, or subject changes. Teachers can often be the worst students, but with systematic reflection being in personal time, commitment will always be minimal, unless teachers can be convinced of its effectiveness, and it will not be effective if not systematic. Petty (2009, P.519) believed that every Teacher has a theory about learning using this theory, perhaps unconsciously, in their teaching, citing Shön, who called this ‘theory in use’ Reflection improves your theory’s, helps you become more effective, able to solve problems, however Schön states;
‘Much reflection in action hinges on the experience of surprise’ The Reflective Practitioner, Shon, 1983. Cited by Bassot)
We ignore what we expected to happen, assuming that means it was positive. Wider reading like Holt’s ‘Why Children Fail’ or Friere’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppresed’, may not give you a bite size theory, but can change the assumptions made about Further Education Students, how we teach them and what our responsibilities to them are. Any discussion of Models of reflective practice would be incomplete without Brookfield, ‘How to become a Critically Reflective Teacher’ and the critical lenses. Personally I found ‘The Skillful Teacher’ easier to read and equally informative. The complication however is that the lenses are listed in a different order, so I will be using the former, more academic text. The lenses are;
The Autobiographical, the students eyes, our colleagues experiences and theoretical literature.
If used, all four lens can be very effective, however as we discussed regarding the issues with theoretical literature not being read, the other lens can be just as unused. If a learning establishment doesn’t value reflective practice, provide time and an environment for it, then the second and third lens become particularly ignored, feared or resented. Discussing negative experiences with colleagues can be felt as weakness, part time and sessional lecturers may worry it will cause a loss of work. The student voice is important, but if the information is used as a statistical stick to beat teachers with rather than a starting point of discussion, then even valid points can be ignored. Having looked at models of reflective practice and its effect on CPD, Subject teaching and teachers responsibilities we will now look at professionalism.
Professionalism as a concept is this paragraphs focus and Peter Scales described Professionalism as including;
‘the primary importance of student learning and the teaching process, maintaining loyalty to students and colleagues, expressing concern for academic standards, recognition of teachers as experts, and some elements of autonomy.’ (2011, p.27)
Teaching as a profession, requiring qualifications and membership of a governing body and the impact of values, beliefs and skills on professional effectiveness and the creation of Professional standards, is applying more pressure to Lecturers. Leading to what Woods described as ‘strategic compliance’ Shaun and Gleeson (1999) noted this in F.E. Both sources cited by Rushton (2012, P.86) with increased paperwork and inspections, activities undertaken without real commitment. People don’t behave professionally just because they are told to.
‘We joke in our staff room that teaching sometimes gets in the way of the paperwork’ anonymous. Cited by Rushton (2012, P.85)
Maynard and Martinez (2002) cited in Petty (2009 2nd Edition. P. 355) referred to the 5 D’s;
Denial, Displacement, Deference, Despair and Destiny.
With teachers feeling that reflection and improvement is unnecessary or impossible. Teacher’s are rarely given recognition as experts, Government policy is often about Curriculum and Assessment, as discussed by Black and Wiliam, with teachers as the problem that Education needs to planned around. Continued cuts to funding or changes in core curriculum are often picked up by Teachers as extra work, after school clubs or personal projects and this is assumed by Parents and Management, and by the teachers themselves, so that the learner is not disadvantaged, because teaching is a vocation. This contrasts against the ideals of professionalism that Scales discussed and is referred to by Brookfield as a;
Hegemonic Assumption: “a lie we tell ourselves to explain the extra unpaid work that we do” (1995, P.15)
I personally found this idea revelatory to my own outlook, especially as I personally went from being single and child free last academic year, to in a relationship and being step father to two children this year, the need to stay late is still present but the desire to do so, less. We can now look at the professional standards we face, the implications for CPD and our responsibilities when we consider the idea of F.E Teacher’s being a Duel Professional.
The Institute For Learning (IFL) comments that many in FE hold a Dual professionalism, both as a Teacher and as an expert in their subject specialism. We will now look at the consequences for Teachers with regards their professional roles and responsibilities and as Scales suggests the paradoxes that exist. An issue, which certainly applies to myself, is that many F.E Lecturers come to the role almost by accident, with no formal training in teaching, and after working for a significant time as a part time sessional member of staff are finally offered a permanent position. The establishment’s need for teachers to be flexible and available, conflicts with the specialism and many find themselves cancelling specialist work for the perceived reliability of teaching. Lifelong Learning UK, refers to five domains;
Professional Values and Practice, Learning and Teaching, Specialist Learning and Teaching, Planning for Learning, Assessment for Learning, Access and Progression. (2007 P.5)
The second and third domains apply to Duel Professionalism in relation to observation. A constant argument is the validity of an assessment when the assessor does not have your subject knowledge, the response being that teaching practice standards should be the same whatever the specialism is certainly true, however recommendations that fall into the third domain of specialism are often unhelpful. Meggison and Whitaker (2003, P.19) Cited by Scales (2011, p.4) identified seven paradoxes with CPD,
Compulsion or Voluntarism, Employer or Individual Responsibility, Teaching or Learning, Personal Development or Organizational Learning, Values Driven or Pragmatic Development, Journey or Exploration.
Many of these conflicts are often applied to the observation process, the recent shift to ‘No Notice’ Observations were met with open hostility until OFSTED changed its decision, but college observations remain this way and it is often viewed as a compulsory negative burden, rather than as an opportunity for reflection and growth. Having explained Reflective Practice and discussed Professionalism and Duel Professionalism, I will reflect on how this applies to me.
With a working hypothesis for reflective practice and professionalism I can now reflect on my own status. Malcolm Gladwell said,
‘It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something’ Cited by Scales (2011, P79)
I am what Richard St. John refers to as a ‘Workafrolic’, I enjoy what I do. I have a an approach which is Humanistic but I utilise behaviourist theory for behaviour management and in January I will reach my five year mark in teaching. Four of those years have been full time and so I am about half way through my ten thousand hours. My development as an educational professional has been hindered by the fact that I do not yet hold my teaching qualification. A peer, who started at the same time as me, was recently promoted to Teaching and Learning Manager. I never intended to become a Lecturer and when Cert Ed was first explained to be, essentially it was compulsory, I did not engage with it, and thus for a variety of reasons, took three years to pass the first three modules. I however have benefitted from this; the time has enabled me to develop and commit to the role, and the experience. Also I embrace the role of theory builder, the experiences I have shown me the relevance and I enjoy discussing with like-minded colleagues. I have benefited from having supportive Managers, so that when I identify gaps in my knowledge I have been able to complete extra training, and when opportunities arose they have put me forward, for example filmclub co-ordinator. Two activities I engage in to highlight areas of development are; firstly I update my CV every six months, removing anything that I haven’t done for five years, adding new elements where required, ensuring the CV stays at two pages often leads to gaps to be filled, secondly I research jobs of interest that I would be suitable for in about ten years, I then research what skills or experiences I would need to accomplish that role. This led to me becoming a Governor of a primary school. As a Level 1 and Level 2 Course leader, I am not only interested in my students successfully completing the course, but also that they complete the next level also; I have no interest in setting them up to fail. This led to me looking at potential additional courses which could serve as a Level 1.5 or 2.5, and research led me to the Certificate in Learning for Life, essentially a study skills course, focusing on team building, independent learning, cultural literacy and reflective practice. I now exclusively teach this on Level 2, where I use to teach Script writing and video production, so I have essentially lost my dual professionalism status. Although I use my experience to provide the students with a variety of alternate options for how to present work, my area of expertise and interest is now in Cultural Literacy. My own reflective practice is weak; I own a journal that I regularly fail to update and a blog that hasn’t been updated this year. I regularly ‘Reflect in Action’ (Schon) through teaching the same subject to more than one class means I often worry that the final class get a better lesson as it is developed with experience. Scale’s paradoxes also applies in that due to my focus on Level 1 and 2, I am fractured from the teaching team, centred on the Level 3 course, and often find departmental meetings have occurred without me. This has led to me pursuing my own educational goals, which ultimately are to focusing more on Level 1 and 2 deliveries, which I did through my subject specialist workshop.
I will now discuss my specialist workshop, how I came to decide upon it and then evaluate its effectiveness. Using Brookfield’s four lenses An area within Level 2 that needed focussing on was student research skills, not only for the successful completion of the course, but as previously mentioned, to ensure suitability for Level 3. Kolb’s cycle was effective in discussing previous experiences with students skills, and I decided to arrange a workshop session within the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), this would ensure that students would actually use the resources, but also by discussing the task with support staff, it meant students were not able to use computers and would have to focus on non-ICT secondary sources. To also develop my interest in students Cultural Literacy, I used http://www.theday.co.uk, a student focused news site, to provide a current affairs hand out. Having set out my concept I then planned my experiment, using three different classes I then set them three tasks. One, to reflect on their existing knowledge or ideas on the issue; two, to conduct a small primary source vox pop on the topic; three, to summarise the information in the article to around 100 words. The length of the session was only an hour and so many of the students did not complete all three tasks, however I decided to give them extra time to complete rather then remove one of the tasks. Overall the sessions were successful, the LRC staff was happy to support and see the facilities used, students engaged in the topic and I got some interesting responses. Reflecting on the classes as they happened and afterwards, as Schon describes knowing in practice, I have changed the Level 2 timetable so that the workshop occurs every week, ensuring students engage in a diverse range of topics and stimulate some student’s interest. This ultimately is a responsibility of mine as their tutor, to lead them to their own thoughts, not tell them what those thoughts should be.
In conclusion, the models of Schon, Kolb and Brookfield have enabled me to analyse and utilise reflective practice to develop my understanding of my roles and responsibilities as a Lecturer within F.E. I have also used the academic work of Petty and Scales amongst others to describe Professionalism and Duel Professionalism and how that applies to me, my CPD and my subject teaching and finally I have developed my specialist teaching, developing a workshop which is beneficial to my students and their chances of success.

 

The Feedback I received:

This is an excellent insight into your own perceptions of your role and professional values. You have carefully structured the content to fully meet the assessment criteria but also provide an interesting discussion underpinned by theory and practice. Your personal development is evident and your critique is embedded well within the essay. The depth of your knowledge is indicative in your reading and research to support your views. Clear links to your role and practice including the subject specialist project where it is good to see the impact of reflective practice.

 You discuss the reflective models of Brookfield, Schon and Kolb by highlighting the impact of ‘in’ and ‘on’ action including the element of surprise; explaining the cyclical reflective processes on your classroom practice and interpreting the four lenses approach.  You explain the process of reflecting as both tutor and learner drawing on your own autobiographical experiences and other perspectives.                                                                                                                      

The discussion around professionalism is very good and relates well to the LLUK professional standards– it is good to see the direct references to the standards in your essay. You consider the concept of the ‘dual professional’ and discuss how your role as a personal tutor has changed your perception of your own subject knowledge. I also note the tensions you highlight about how to maintain the personal and work life balance whilst being fully committed to improving professional standards and skills.

You clearly recognise the value of CPD in developing a knowledge base for your teaching role by attending courses such as DTLLS as you manage your career change and up-skill in relevant areas whilst trying not to diminish your subject specialist skills. I am interested to hear more about your journey to qualifying as a teacher.

The structure of the essay is excellent and you signpost the reader well through the introduction; the main body content flows well and you summarise the key points to conclude.  I am pleased to see that you have read around the subject and draw on a variety of texts – well done Steve.

 

 

Content wise this is a well written essay however for future essays review the paragraphs by wrapping the text up into essay style but otherwise this is a thoughtful and well researched essay.

 Thank you for your lively contributions in the group sessions and congratulations on achieving ‘outstanding’ during the STE – I thoroughly enjoyed observing you teach.

Bibliography

Dr Barbara Bassot (2011). Reflective Diary. London: Matador.
Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam (1998) Inside the black box. Kings College London
Stephen Brookfield (1995). Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. London: Wiley Imprint.
Stephen Brookfield (2006). The Skillful Teacher. 6th ed. London: Wiley Imprint.
Geoff Petty (2009). Evidence Based Teaching. 2nd ed. London: Nelson Thornes Ltd.
Geoff Petty (2009). Teaching Today. 4th ed. London: Nelson Thornes Ltd.
Ian Rushton and Martin Suter (2012). Reflective Practice for Teaching in Lifelong Learning. London: Open University Press.
Peter Scales Et al (2011). Continuing Professional Development in the Lifelong Learning Sector. London: Open University Press.

Sector Skills Council. (2007) New Overarching Professional Standards for Teachers, Tutors and Trainers in the Lifelong Learning Sector.

Michael Jackson (2012). Man in the Mirror. Bad 25th Anniversary Edition: EMI.

http://www.etymonline.com

http://www.ifl.ac.uk/cpd/case-studies/members-stories/dual-professionalism-showcases Last Checked 25.11.12

The First Rule of Film Club, is to Talk About Film Club

(Article originally written for IntoFilm)

As a further education and former secondary school teacher who’s interested in film, and as leader of my sixth form college’s film club, I’ve seen repeatedly how film broadens young people’s horizons and enriches their learning experiences. Whether it’s Alfie to spark a discussion about the treatment of women, Life is Beautiful to introduce the holocaust to a young audience, or Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to enthuse a disengaged Year 10 SEN group, film can be a powerful tool for teachers seeking new ways to educate and inspire. This is a medium that appeals to all, regardless of ability, yet unlike art forms such as literature, theatre or music, it has never, to date, featured prominently in education – so it’s great that the British Film Institute has decided to invest £26 million of lottery funds over the next four years to build on the work of education charities FILMCLUB and First Light and make film education available to every school in the country.
Key elements of the programme for teachers will be a new, National Youth Film Festival with screenings and workshops they can take pupils to for free, increased access to training and CPD about film-making and using film in the classroom, and a raft of curricula film resources which will complement the curriculum in subjects including English, literacy, history, geography, science, PSHE and modern languages.
Have you already used film in your lessons and would like to do so more? Are you keen on the idea but unsure how to go about it? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

English Language
Any film that is screened has to be reviewed, however to increase the challenge ban certain over used words. For example my students are not allowed to use the words; Good, Bad, Very, Interesting or Boring.

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be” Mark Twain

Set word counts, I ask for 100 words explanation of the plot and 150 words for their opinion. This helps them to separate the two, which might otherwise be mixed all in, to the satisfaction of neither.
Rewriting or plotting an existing film can be an exciting and challenging activity, for example, after a screening of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban, the students were tasked with outlining the plot but were not allowed to mention magic or wizardry of any kind, what we got instead was a dark and thrilling story of espionage, treason and mental health!
The famous example is the thriller Finding Nemo; a film in which a Man’s wife is brutally murdered by a serial killer and his son left physically disabled. Years later his son is kidnapped and he has to travel thousands of miles with the help of a mentally disabled woman to rescue him.

English Literature
Reviewing films is a great way to improve critical skills, challenging students on the difference between objective and subjective reasons for liking and disliking a film.
It’s ok to screen a film student’s dislike, as long as they explain why, rather than just say ‘it was rubbish’ as that’s a banned word.
You can also use film reviews to encourage peer assessment, with students checking each other’s work before they are published on the filmclub website, and remember the best reviews win prizes.
Film has a long history of adaption, and many classic works have been modernised like 10 things I hate about you/ Taming of the Shrew or animated Lion King / Hamlet, whilst both these films are a little old now, I have found their high quality ensures they still work with audiences. A more recent release to consider include Easy A/ Scarlett Letter and
A great resource for looking at adaption is comic books, many of the great characters are based on a cultural starting point, have survived decades of retelling and are now proving hugely popular with young audiences. Dark Knight is a great example of this.

Maths
Is not a subject that has been ignored by film, so film shouldn’t be ignored in the teaching of maths.
Pi, a horror story with mathematics, as a paranoid mathematician searching for a number, found in nature, that will unlock the universe.
A Beautiful Mind, a biographical film, about John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. As well as economic theory the film also involves scenes about cryptography.
Good Will Hunting, about a janitor at MIT, who has a gift for mathematics, but needs counselling to find direction in his life.

Modern Languages
Are incredibly diverse and could be an article in its own right to cover all the cultures in any depth
Film is a perfect way to learn a foreign language in context and be exposed to foreign cultures, real life conversation and new day-to-day phrases and vocabulary, increasing students’ ability to cope with different accents and discussion of foreign texts to support study of foreign literature.

French
La Haine, following the repercussions of a riot in a urban environment, a local youth finds a police officers gun.
Cyrano De Bergerac, Gerard Depadieu’s iconic performance as the French poet/ soldier, who embarrassed by his long nose romances his love by proxy.
Persepolis (Iran) French Animation of a autobiography about a precocious young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution.

German
The Wave, based on a true story from California, is a dramatic look at the potential rise of fascism, here in a school setting
Sophie Scholl, about the student and anti-violence revolutionary active in Nazi Germany.

Spanish/ Latin America
Pan’s Labyrinth, looks at the myth of Pan amid a setting of Spanish facism during world war 2.
City of God, based on real events, about two boys growing up in Rio de Janeiro, one becomes a drug dealer the other a photographer.

Australasia
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (China) is a notable example of Wuxia fiction, a mandarin term that means ‘martial arts chivalry’ and refers to a form of storytelling that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907)
Rashomon(Japan) is director Hurosawa’s melding of Akutgawa’s short stories. The result is a black and white film using complicated cinematography and innovative narrative that enjoys classic statute of its own.

PHSE
Film has covered a lot of difficult subject matter and can be a great resource to start a discussion about difficult topics such as bullying, sex, drugs, alcohol and Internet safety, however by it’s nature these subjects often lend themselves to age 15 certificates.
Mean Girls (12A) is a well written examination of social groups and hierarchy’s within the school system. It features a theme of retaliation and retribution.
Catfish (12A) examines through documentary the idea of identity and representation online.
Bowling for Columbine (15) an examination of the effects of violence in society.
Taking Liberties (15) which shows the effects of the War on Terror on civil liberties in the U.K
Juno (Teen Pregnancy), Kidulthood (teenage life in modern London), Trust (Online sexual predators) are just a few of many other films available through film club which can incite debate.

History
Films can bring to life different periods, engage pupils in subjects or introduce a complex topic such as the holocaust / analysing sources etc.
Within the context of the Hollywoodisation of History, it can be pertinent to screen a film like U571 and discuss the historical inaccuracies.
Downfall, a controversial study of the final days of Hitler from his perspective.
Lives of Others, looking at the cold war, from within East Germany, as a member of the secret police conducts surveillance on a writer.

Geography
Use film to support topics relating to physical geography (eg environment, climate change and natural phenomena), and human geography (migration, immigration, globalisation etc)
Gasland, fracking is becoming an increasingly relevant debate, this film looks at the effects of the procedure on local community, features the notorious ‘firewater’ scene.
Age of Stupid, Pete Postlewaite plays a future archivist, looking at documentary footage from 2008 to understand why humankind failed to address climate change.
Fast Food Nation, an all-star ensemble class examines the risks caused by the globalisation of the fast food industry, to health, the environment and society.

Disclaimer: The films mentioned in this article are in no way a complete list, the beauty of cinema is that there are hundreds of films suitable and adaptable to your students, your curriculum, your classroom.

Reflection

Originally posted on Posterous Dec 12th 2011

I have a good start to my working week. I don’t have my first class until 11.30 p, which enables me to ensure I can sort out any final prep, deal with any news from the weekend.

I’m seriously considering reintroducing Assembly in to my courses timetable. The reasons are two fold. Firstly I like to see my students first thing, check how they are, pass on any important information. Check attendance. Secondly I insist that my students are outside class 5 minutes before the start of lesson. Otherwise I consider them late. Assembly would help ensure that happened.

After checking class I had a meeting with Vanessa Kent, who I am assisting with the Colleges Teachers Toolkit and connected resources. As well as other projects. We spent a lot of the hour meeting with me showcasing my new iPad and how I use it for work. Encouraging her to get one. We then discussed how due to changes to her timetable in the new year we would no longer be able to meet fortnightly and would have to move to monthly meetings and work together online. Which in terms of efficiency will mean we spend less time chatting, to be fair.

My first hour is fairly good going as well, I’ve arranged that one hour of the course is spent in the library. Ensures that the students spent some time in there. With the end of term approaching I had any  students who did not feel confident that they would meet deadline have a 1-2-1 with me. I then set them individual to do lists. Insisting that they do not worry about any work other then what is on the to do list. Once they have completed the tasks to inform me and I will set them new to do tasks. This is important as the time that students are most likely to drop out, or consider, threaten to drop out is at major deadlines. The students all felt that the to do lists helped.

My day was fairly derailed by pastoral care issues with five different students. Three of which fairly major, one of which I am powerless to do anything about. One of the students wrote me a very nice email thanking me for my support.

My afternoon class was replaced with students breaking into mini groups to complete outstanding work for a colleague and those students who had completed working together on a Christmas task. This enable me to spend time working on planning and assignment writing.

The end of my day was spent in my Cert Ed class, or DTLLS as it is now called. Though we are now studying a TAQA qualification in Assessment. Which has been interesting, though a lot of work in a little period of time.

Be seeing you.

Time after Sometime

First posted on Posterous December 8th 2010

time-after-time

I noticed a theme from my first two posts, an admission of time management failures.

Am I allowed to blame the seasons?

I ask because I came into work late yesterday (relatively I didn’t actually have a lesson, but there would have been an issue if I’d needed to cover) and I came in close to time today. Usually I’m in work 90 minutes early, clearly not part of my work smart process.

The last few days I’ve really struggled to get out of bed in the morning. This I am putting down to three things;

1)      Snowmaggedon. I got a little used to snug lay ins, and now the very idea of getting up at 6am seems absurd.

2)      It’s cooooold out there. Why would I want to get up, it’s warm in bed, it’s not outside the bed. Why would anybody go through that? 

3)      It’s dark, therefore 6am officially no longer exists and thus how can I be expected to get up.

Good I’m glad we solved that one.

Except.

I did use that time, to deal with Email, or print off any paperwork, or…

Of course if I worked smart I could have that already before I left the day before, well not the emails but you get the point…

If you do, then please let me know what do you do to manage your mornings? How much time before the start of lesson are you ready to go.

The Balance

Originally posted on Posterous 7th September 2010
‘The very fact that you just used the term, “work/life balance” probably means you have NO HOPE IN HELL of ever attaining it’
Today was my Granddads funeral, we weren’t close. I hadn’t seen him in over a decade. I took the afternoon off work to attend making sure I was in college in the morning to enrol a student and then spent some time doing some final prep work for Induction tomorrow.
After the funeral I went back to work to tie up some loose ends, for tomorrow.
Tonight I went out, for a meeting regarding a non-college project. a fun interesting meeting.
One of my new students, starting tomorrow, entered the pub. Don’t worry he is over 18.
We got speaking and ended up playing Pool.
Where I improved his confidence by beating him 3-0.
By taking the time to connect, I was able to get him to open up and I found out more about his background, things which will could prove vital in later one-to-ones.
Would you have played pool with him? (I ask out of curiosity not out of judgement)
How is your Work/Life Balance?

Fabulous Bakin Brothers and Bellamy Fanboy

Originally posted on Posterous September 6th, 2010

wsls

Amongst a usual hodge podge of emails this morning two stood out.

One was from the head of admissions.
The other from an ex student.
One was thanking me.
The other distinctly, not.
One was about me trying to put right what I had put wrong.
the other was a perceived wrong against somebody i had tried to do right by.
My primary focus, and this will shock readers unsure of the nature of this blog, is my students, I put them first, as many educators do, but do I always consider the repercussions of my actions?
If something I say can be taken two ways…
and one of those ways causes offence…
I meant the other way.
I was so focused on having two classes this year I offered places on a course I didn’t have to offer. I didn’t consider the repercussions from them in dealing with concerned students wanting to know if they had made it into college. Nor did I consider my flippant attitude towards their guidelines.
I attempted to make amends with a sincere apology and muffins.
I had a student who graduated the course last year. A serial student, but whilst he did well on the course he didn’t do well enough to progress.
Working with there personal tutor I arranged for guidance for what to do post college. They didn’t attend.
After summer I discovered they had applied too do a different course.
Due to their level of social and learning difficulties I didn’t feel the course was appropriate. I recommended that a positive option for them was outside of college and so a place on the course was not given. I feel bad, but believe i have done the right thing in this case.
I have a nice email thanking me for the muffins.
I have an understandably unhappy email asking why I had something against them personally.
I think this is the point where we draw a moral for the story.
Be Seeing You