Waiting for Work

Longhaired man outside house

It’s that time of year when schools and colleges go back and I am checking my email and fielding phone calls from agencies. After having finally given up teaching in colleges on a permanent basis due to the internal politics, excessive bureaucracy and weak senior management, I now work short-term contracts. This also gives me the chance to do some TEFL teaching to visiting foreign students out of season and work on my own projects.

This year feels slightly different. The uncertainty caused by a lack of consistent strong direction, or even weak direction that doesn’t change, from the government has created a large amount of uncertainty in organisations like colleges, students and staff. From what I can make out the colleges do have provisional plans in place after the crisis forced senior management to step up to the plate and make decisions. In some areas the options offered to potential students are greater than others, so colleges don’t really know what their intake will be. Last year, the college I worked for had made plans for more engineering students than actually made it onto the courses due to poor exam results. This year, whatever informed guesses that their teachers made and the adjustments that may or may not have been applied may make a difference.

For me, the uncertainty is less of a worry than it was last year as I am in a better off position financially, despite losing income over lockdown. I have things to do too so I can keep busy, this blog, my website and learning new things amongst others. I do need to work at some point, the sooner, the better, but I can last a few more weeks. I am feeling a bit nervous about going back to work after such a long break. It’s more of the social side of it rather than the work itself which is making me wonder what it will be like. I know I can teach an electrical engineering lesson at the drop of a hat, having done it before (and been observed by heads of department doing it).

Over the years I have built up a large library of materials which I update and adjust each time I prepare new lessons. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing a title and course name. Some of these materials were passed on to me by other former colleagues and I pass on most of these materials to other lecturers, especially when I have been helping to mentor them. Sometimes I wonder if it would be worth putting together courses for the online market and, with the remote teaching that went on last term and potentially in the future, I may do that.

So, I am going to check my email late morning, to see if anyone wants me. Getting things done before checking email was one of the bits of advice from the useful motivational reading (and I turned off notifications if you remember from my first post).

First day back at school September 2019