I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about myself this year and perhaps one of the most important things I’ve learnt is that it’s OK to say no. I’ve found in the past that I’ve often said yes to things because something needed doing or somebody suggested I do something, without really thinking it through, which frequently leads to me taking on more than I should (plus the fact that I’m atrocious at delegating and a bit of a control-freak!).
So, in my new “me” mode, I decided to give up my role as academic coordinator, a position which I’ve held for a number of years. My decision to give up my role as academic coordinator in my current school is a very selfish one, motivated by own needs rather than as a response to the job I’m doing. There are aspects of the role which I really enjoy, which are funnily enough the things which other people turn their noses up at: I love timetabling – it can be a bit of a headache, but I like the way things slot together; I’m happy slogging away on the computer sending emails, curating our online staffroom or creating videos for Youtube. In fact, the aspect of my role which I have most difficulty with is the human factor – despite being a bubbly, friendly, chatty person I don’t actually enjoy having long conversations with people that much, especially when they’re tricky conversations, and I don’t feel I’m particularly good at them either.
Also, as another selfish streak shines through, I really want to focus my time and energy on MY teaching. The school where I currently work is an incredible environment for professional development – I’m surrounded by people who are actively working to become better teachers, who are enthusiastic about sharing ideas and who, generally speaking, are long-term ELTers who love what they do. I’m also back on twitter after a few years’ absence and it’s another great place to connect with teachers from around the world, pick up new ideas and share experiences. There are so many fantastic resources which crop up there on a daily basis, ideas which come out of Active’s fortnightly professional development meetings and tips which pop up in conversations by the photocopier which I would LOVE to have more time to engage with. I’m certainly not overworked in my current role, but I have a terrible sense of guilt when I know other people are working and I’m not (even though it’s my scheduled time off) and so I know I work more than I should as I’m also not very good at dividing my time clearly or switching off from “academic coordinator” mode – so I’ll often have my email open when I’m doing other things on the computer (I think I also inherited a gossipy streak from my maternal grandmother so I always worry I’m missing out on something!).
I think as well, that when I first became a teacher, it seemed like “up” was the natural direction things moved – I imagined that I would be a teacher, then a DoS, then open my own school and it was only when I’d been teaching for a couple of years that I realised I didn’t want to own my own school. Returning to being “just” a teacher for me is certainly no step backwards, rather I see it as the opportunity to step sideways in many different directions as I have more space and time to focus my energies on my development. Here are just a few of the things I’m looking forward to experimenting with…
- Building a bank of observation tasks for speaking activities
- Working on reading skills with YLs
- Developing some Gouin series for VYLs
- A fortnightly focus for my own PD, similar to Mike Harrisons notelts
I’m feeling incredibly excited, motivated and energised by the change and hopefully, I’ll also be blogging more so you’ll get to hear all about it!