This is my response to the reflective task Exploring your context 3 from Sandy Millin’s ELT Playbook 1.
The task – The people around us
For this task, I had to write down the names of teachers from my school and put them into certain categories. The categories were:
- Teachers I could go to for advice on language and language usage
- Teachers I could go to for advice on teaching and methodology
- Teachers I could invite into my class for peer observations or to talk with my learners
- Teachers I could speak to and discuss any doubts or worries I have
- Teachers I can have a laugh with
With thirty + teachers, I had quite a number to think about – many of the categories had numerous names!
This task proved rather interesting as I began to notice a certain pattern – many names were repeated in many categories. I think this showcases the talent and experience of some of the teachers I work with.
Now, being the teacher trainer, I have a vested interest in knowing what the strengths of the teachers I work with are. This information I have gathered from CPD interviews, coaching sessions, conversations in the hallway, observations, etc. That being said, I began to think about whether or not the teachers with whom I work would have the same information / a similar list? Probably not, I reasoned. So, perhaps this is something that I will encourage the teachers in my academy to do, or at the very least, I could put my list on display. What do you think?
One of the reflection questions that Sandy includes in the task is related to the social networks in the workplace (i.e. the communities of practice that teachers are involved in) and their usefulness. I have quite a strong and well-resourced community of practice both here in the school where I work and externally in the groups I socialise with online. With regard to their usefulness, they are invaluable! I have mentioned this before in a previous post, but I’ll say it again as I think it should be common knowledge – teaching is often viewed as a solitary profession, however it should not be; communities of practice are available to all teachers (in all disciplines) and should be exploited.
So, how can one develop their teaching social network? Well, I’ve created an infographic (as dictated in the task) with some ideas. Let me know what you think!
A worthwhile task?
I always ask myself the value of doing certain tasks, be they reflective or not. This task is one that I certainly think all teachers, experienced or not, will benefit from. Not only will it raise your awareness of where you can go should you need help, but it can also make you think about development opportunities for yourself and how you might be able to help others develop.