Pause for quiet re­flec­tion... and some Youtube roulette

TES (Times Education Supplement) - - FURTHER -

I’VE HIT a bit of a lull at work and quite frankly, I’m lov­ing it.

There’s a short pe­riod be­tween the end of the aca­demic year and the be­gin­ning of the new one where a valve is turned and the steam flies. Some staff take hol­i­days, some stick around, the build­ing emp­ties out and the re­lent­less na­ture of life in FE (at least tem­po­rar­ily) slows in pace. It’s time to kick back, and if not ex­actly re­lax, then at least re­claim a lit­tle ci­vil­ity that pre­vi­ously there may have been pre­cious lit­tle time for.

Rather than a snatched up­date as you Mach 1 it down cor­ri­dors or shove a bag of mi­crowave rice down you not car­ing about the mi­nor burns to the in­side of your throat (be­cause if you’re not in the class­room be­fore the En­ter­prise group get there, there may not be a class­room to go to), there is time for some ac­tual con­ver­sa­tions with col­leagues. And (whis­per it) some aren’t even about work. It’s a chance to catch up, have a laugh and re­mem­ber that the peo­ple that you work with are ac­tu­ally peo­ple.

There are other cer­tain lux­u­ries to be had – maybe some self-directed CPD as you spend an un­heard of hour read­ing some re­search. Per­haps a chance to re­ally work on the scheme that wasn’t as ef­fec­tive as you might have liked. And ev­ery­one’s favourite: be­ing able to go to toi­let when­ever the hell you want; such deca­dence not be­ing seen since the fall of Rome.

Of course the work­ing day goes on. It’s still a time to plan, carry out tasks from on high and do a bit of gen­eral house­keep­ing, but with­out the inces­sant pres­sure of a chocka timetable, th­ese things hardly seem like chores at all. There’s time.

And hav­ing time is prob­a­bly the nicest part about this pe­riod of grace. You can ac­tu­ally sit and think. There’s head­s­pace to re­flect on what you have done, what you are do­ing, and what you will do next year. It’s this type of re­flec­tion that can lead to im­prove­ment in prac­tice and it’s a shame that of­ten, the only time it hap­pens is at the end of the year.

So I’m not go­ing to apol­o­gise for tak­ing it a lit­tle eas­ier for a bit

(al­though it might war­rant an eye­brow raise from my line man­ager). Along with the more friv­o­lous pur­suits such as Youtube mu­sic roulette, re­cy­cling bin basketball tour­na­ments and a fair bit of ar­s­ing about, this quiet time does serve a more se­ri­ous pur­pose. For me, it’s the time of year that al­lows me to meditate on the job I do. It’s prob­a­bly the only time of year when that’s pos­si­ble. That med­i­ta­tion helps me try and do bet­ter.

It also means that I don’t have to scorch my in­sides with hot rice. Dou­ble trou­ble.

Tom Starkey teaches English at a col­lege in the north of Eng­land. He tweets @tstarkey1212

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.