Started back at work last Wednesday - although I did go into work for 2 half days the week before to organise (or try to) my new workspace. Wednesday - Friday we had three days of preparation and PD. The PD was ok - I did hear a lot of stuff that intrigued me and made me question my teaching practice which can only be a good thing- but I found I personally thought that the all day one could have been cut down.
Thursday we heard about Generation Z (basically those 16 and under) and how to teach them. There is not much research about them - but then how can there be when many of them are not really able to make a huge contribution to the studies anyway. What we did get was a run down of the Generations from those pre WWII to those now - a brief snapshot of characteristics, influences etc. This was all quite interesting but I think it could have been cut down by half. The speaker was really fascinating, had some great insights and was passionate about her content but some of it should've been condensed. The audience came along for the ride but there were many waves of talking - some relevant, some not. Again - it could've been cut down.
The information that was most relevant, such as how to actually plan your teaching etc, I felt was almost treated like an after thought. I think this was due to the fact that so much time was spent on deciphering what makes each generation tick.
That's often the problem with getting speakers into a workplace who are not really familiar with the situation (people and context) they are addressing. Yes, they know their research but the issue is how to make the research REALLY relevant to the people they are addressing. It is probably an issue that many speakers face. Most do a good job, some are appalling but a few really get why they've been asked to address this particular crowd and then make it worthwhile for the crowd.
The speaker we had for the second half of Friday was probably much more entertaining. She was talking about how to actually see what you are doing making an effect..."Visible Learning". The basis for this was that her colleague has done a meta study of all the studies that have been done on achievement and then collated them into one study. Our speaker presented the findings in quite an entertaining way and as a result left a number of questions to be answered. She opened a can of worms and then, as she pointed out, ran away for us to clean up the mess. That mess will be an entertaining discussion - if we actually have it......
As a consequence I am thinking about who, what when and where of my teaching......the most important thing I am thinking is 'Why?'.
I would've preferred more time as a faculty though. Always the case I think, but I am working as a new Learning Area (Faculty) Manager and really would like the time to get my team firing. We have already made some huge changes in the way we operate but we had a lot of little issues to clean up from the last few years. It is so frustrating that when someone is in a position of power but then don't actually do what they are meant to do. Most of what I have done in the last few days is facilitate a discussion about policy for headphones, keyboards, room design etc. I have put my foot down every now and then but, at the moment, we are quite amicable. I don't forsee that we will move beyond that drastically.
In amongst all of this I have had HUGE car issues!
Monday night I was driving home from a friends house about 60km (still in metro region!!!!) away. The fuel emission warning light came on and stayed on.
Tuesday night was a public holiday so I couldn't do anything about this light. Wednesday I rang my mechanic and was told to drop the car up on Thursday. This I did and then found out the cause of the light.....The coil pack was misfiring and there was a fault in number 3. In my brand of car this meant having to change all 4 as they are all one unit. We are talking over A$600 to do. I took a deep breath and said ok. I understand the principles of the coil pack - to fire the cylinders that allow the car to move forward.
I picked the car up after work and set off for home. Now I live a good 30 minute drive from work, by choice as it is near the beach. I had travelled no more than 5 minutes down the road when the car stopped and every warning light came on! I was able to glide over to the kerb and get out of the way of traffic - thank goodness. I rang the mechanic, explained the situation and he came and got me. Well, he re started the car and followed me back to the garage.
He had run a few more tests on the car with his computer and it started stating that there were other issues - nothing to do with what he replaced. He had never seen this happen (fix one thing and have something else go wrong which is slightly related!) so he rang his auto electrician and the supplier of the parts. Both reported that they had had this happen once or twice before with my brand of car - but it was unusual.
Options he presented to me - take a chance and drive home and bring it back tomorrow (Friday) or leave it with him so he could start taking out the computer.....at which point I was seeing a lot of money heading his way.........
He then asked what suburb I lived in. I told him. He told me that I was NOT taking the car. No options at all. At this stage I was very, very worried and starting getting that feeling of helplessness that you get when things are out of control.....
The best thing that he then did was state that I had paid over $600 which was now a credit to me. He was starting from scratch. He didn't know what the issue was but was going to find out. This means sending the computer and the old coil pack to the car manufacturer for testing to find out what exactly is wrong. If I have to get a new computer only - then I have already paid for it. If it is both parts that need replacement then he will not charge me labour.
The worst thing is I have no car until Tuesday at the earliest. I have rescheduled all over the place for the things I was doing this weekend - leg wax, hair dye etc.
All I want is my car to be fixed and to have it back.........I might go back to planning and writing work for my classes.........it distracts me from crying over my lack of car.