Tomorrow is the start of the next chapter in my teaching career (if we can call it that!) as I take up the position of Lecturer of Communications. While it’s a change of style and pace I’m sure the basics will be the same – and I’ve got two weeks until the students return so I have lots of time to familiarise myself with the materials, the college itself and my new colleagues.
Lots of people have been asking if I’m nervous or looking forward to it – but without sounding ungrateful or blasé it doesn’t bother me as I’ll go in and do the best I can as I always do. Also without the students there the pressure is off initially whereas in teaching at secondary level you get one day of in-service and you are head first in. I am always more nervous meeting classes for the first time than I am my colleagues, as it is the people in front of you each day that make or break you in the job I think. There are always pressures from out with the classroom and certainly in my last position that was the straw that pushed me to leave, but mostly they can be overcome and you develop good working relationships even if you are not going to socialize with them.
The thing that I’m looking forward to most about the new position is the diversity of vocational courses the students will be coming from. I could be faced with Hairdressers, Engineers, Photographers and Farmers all in one day and that excites me as it will push me to adapt my teaching styles depending on who they are and what they actually need from me in terms of literacy. My job is to ensure the students leave college with a decent grasp of the English language in all its forms to allow them to do their jobs. People fascinate me and regardless of background I’m always interested in the decisions people have made in terms of career and paths through life. I’m aware there will be challenges as some students will have English as a second language, others will struggle with basic literacy, some may have disabilities that I have to adapt to and then there will be those who don’t see the point of a comms module for their course, so keeping things relevant for them is important too.
A new challenge was sorely needed as I was becoming lazy with my teaching and re-using the same materials time and again – even with the CfE changes – so this means I’ll have start from scratch and without texts to teach I won’t have the novels and plays to fill the time – instead I’ll need to develop work that fits and challenges the students. Ideas are my strength in teaching and I love coming up with new approaches and ways of manipulating lessons to make them interesting o even quirky to make a point.
How long this chapter will last will depend on how I get on this year, it may be my final stop or it could just be a connection to the next destination. I’m not someone who has his life and dreams mapped out in front of him, because as ‘ve discovered in the past that’s not how life works. So here’s to the new chapter and fingers crossed for the future.