Thursday, September 04, 2014

Day 57 - It's Always a School Day

Today, I put my name down to undergo some training in the area of mentoring.
I am also (finally) finishing my PGCert and will actually have a teaching qualification (after around 10 years of experience in HE).
I also know that at some point, I'm going to need to have some training in the PDR process to adequately fulfil my role as research centre director.
All of this adds up in terms of time.
Reading up on each of these requirements, I think I'm going to need around 268 hours of time over the next year. Exactly how this is going to impact on my WAM is anyone's guess, but it's likely I will be doing less of something.

Why bother with all of this? I'm not overly keen on collecting pieces of paper, but I think it's nice to have some kind of official reflection of the skills that I'm developing. This official reflection will be (I imagine) important in terms of my advancement in any institution, but I am also hoping that the process of going through these courses will enhance my reflections on my practice and put in place new approaches and ideas.

Trying to fit in these courses and classes around your teaching is always tricky because, so often, both are fixed at specific times. When you rearrange your teaching, you are disrupting the schedules of many people. Is it better to organise another time or to arrange cover?
If you arrange cover, does the department have the budget to do so? Do your colleagues have space in their own workload to cover you?
If you organise another time there will be students who cannot make the time because they work or they can't arrange child care or because they forget (because that's what students do - I certainly forgot a rearranged lecture or two when I was a student).
Also, if someone else is teaching your class, do you trust them to do this?

The impact of these disruptions is wider than just making me rearrange my diary. It impacts on colleagues, on budget, on student experience. It is far more than just 268 hours a year.

I'm at the point where I can plan out my entire year's teaching, so it's good that this has come up now, but there will be other bits of training that I should be doing, and fitting them in will be a challenge and will cause ripples to spread.

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