Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Day 55 - Look back

I started the task of writing my programme leader's report today.
For me, that means reading every module report written by the teaching team and attempting to tease out some narrative threads that link them together.
This is an intensely annoying process because each report is saved as a Microsoft Word document on a shared drive. In order to read them, I have to download them to my computer and open them one by one. Tedious. Unnecessary.

But. I enjoy this task every year. You may ask why I bother, because after all, I'm meeting with the teaching team throughout the year and have a pretty good idea about what worked and what didn't work (and why), but the reports give me another angle - how the lecturer, looking back, perceived things. This often includes elements that they may have not spoken to me about, that they only realised were relevant when writing the report and reflecting.

There's a widespread feeling that the module reports are meaningless and pointless and that no-one ever reads them. I want my teaching team to know that I always do. I think that one of the ideas is that I read them all, and reflect on what this means for the programme, and then put this in my report, which is then read by the department head, who reads all of the programme reports from their department, and reflects on what this means for the department, and then puts this in their report, which is then read by the Head of School, who reads all of the department reports from their School, and reflects on what this means for the School, and so on and so on.
That is the plan anyway.

And I like sharing in the reflection. Seeing what individual lecturers see as the important elements of their modules is a revelation, and enables me to support them better. Perceiving a slight disconnect between the delivery of linked modules in the reports last year, I have worked hard to bring the team closer together and to discuss shared practice. It looks like that may have paid off. Either that or they're humouring me.

I am a firm believer that the strengths of every robust team derive from the membership of the team, not from any leader, and that it is the responsibility of every team leader to bring the best elements out of their team. That is the strength of the leader. I think that it is a really challenging role, but it is one that I enjoy.

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