Monday, 20 December 2010

Observation day

Today I am being observed again. Every year we have two observations from our real boss, a Westerner who evaluates teaching staff, handles curriculum, deals with teaching questions and also has a significant say on contract extensions.

This is my third manager and I have to say the previous one was great at her job. I think I am biased because she gave me some good marks on the evaluations especially my last one which I do not think is possible for me to beat. I don't know the new manager well so it's a bit of a step into the unknown. The mantra that she is looking for though is repeat, repeat repeat. I can do that.

Half of me feels that I shouldn't be observed because I've been here a long time and am leaving in five months so there is no carrot of a contract being dangled before me. But being observed from time to time is a good thing. All teachers are prone to fall into habits whilst teaching and some of these can be bad. I know that I do some things that head office doesn't necessarily want me to so it's healthy to get back to basics and spend more time preparing.

I didn't sleep too well last night. I'm a little nervous and I know that doesn't make sense. Perhaps nervous is not quite the right word. There's a little bit of apprehension and excitement which I hope will give me the energy to do well. I've built up enough credit to last me for my remaining time here but I do want to show what I can do. Who wants to look bad in front of their boss? Also, as I've got the most experience at my academy shouldn't I be the one who can do this easily?

I don't like being watched though. I'm not the same person when someone from 'outside' is in the classroom. Neither are the students. I like to joke around in class, have fun with students, tease some and in general like to make the kids feel so relaxed that they can express themselves without being nervous. I don't think that will be possible today.

My previous manager would ask what class I would like to have observed but that's not the case today. I know it's one of the first four but more likely not my first class. Over those four periods I teach two lessons twice so preparation is not an issue. Classes one, two and four - no problem, great kids, enthusiastic and fun. Class three, oh dear. There is one boy who is considered to be the worst student at my academy and though I like him, he causes trouble, distracts others and worst of all speaks Korean a lot.

At least there is no pressure on me so this should make me feel relaxed when the time comes. As long as I try my best, prepare and don't make any big mistakes things should be fine and whatever will be will be. I'll be glad when it's out of the way and can move on with my remaining five months. However, we have a new manager at my branch and it's a certainty that she'll be watching everyone's classes over the next few weeks too.

On a side note I won't be going to the big Christmas party that my academy is holding. A few months ago It was suggested that it would be mandatory but in the end that didn't turn out to be true. After some thinking on the matter I decided that going would be OK and maybe fun so I asked if my wife could go with me, as did a lot of other teachers at other branches. On Saturday we got an email telling us that nobody is able to bring a partner.

I understand that and accept it after all my wife doesn't work at the same company as I do so why should she get a free lunch etc, etc but letting everyone know just one week before Christmas is poor. It would have been nice to have gone with my wife because she knows a few of my co-workers and some staff at other branches but it's not to be. Now we're going to have a nice Christmas at home with me cooking and I think we're going to have a great day of eating and drinking.

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