An excellent start: The Daily Ptefldactyl is already a bit un-daily. The thing (excuse) is, most days I finish with the schools at 13:00 but yesterday I gave my fortnightly afternoon workshop and was then pathetically tired. It’s hot and everything. Mehmehmeh.
|Resource making at a cluster workshop, 2011|
Anyway, had quite a remarkable morning today. This ought not to be a remarkable thing after a year in the job, but it is – I planned two classes with teachers from one of my Bidayuh schools and for the first time it wasn’t a massive struggle. Last year whenever I suggested joint lesson planning they suddenly remembered they were supposed to be at basketball club or needed to empty all the bins, and the occasions when we actually sat down together invariably ended in frustration since they’d never been taught how to stage a class and couldn’t really respond to my prompting (‘How about one of these as a warmer?’ ‘What’s a warmer?’ etc).
But lately, something has definitely clicked. They’ve been approaching me with ideas, and good ones.
I’ve been wondering whether this is partly down to having more structure this year. Last year everything felt quite woolly – the project was new, nobody knew what it was going to be like in reality and we were very much left to our own devices. I was hesitant to impose too much order on my mentees, wrongly presuming they’d resent some random foreigner coming in and interfering with their schedules, but from their feedback (and improved engagement) it appears that more order, not less, is what was needed. Compliance with ‘authority’ – not that I have a great deal – is important here and the key to making things happen, and I took too long to recognise that.
So this year we’ve started running a two-week timetable. In ‘B’ week, each teacher has their own slot when I will always join them in their class either to team-teach or to observe, then discuss the lesson. In ‘A’ week I give a two-hour workshop on an area they’ve suggested or I’ve noticed they need support with, and I’m generally around in the schools for lesson planning, resource development, a chat and a curry puff, etc.
|The finished product - laminated common classroom words|
Is it going to last, or is it a burst of new year energy? Ask me again in June…