This is the sixteenth part of my Reflection Series – a self-reflection of my year teaching in the UK.
What were your biggest organisational challenges this year?
This is a difficult one to answer because it is so complex – which way to take this question?
I could re-hash more about the way the school was run or working in a new system, but that isn’t something I have any control over and therefore can’t aim to improve on for next year.
I think for me personally, an organisational challenge I had to work around was the computer use in the school.
Here in Aus we are given a school laptop to use at school and at home, so you can do all of your work on the one device and have everything with you no matter where you are.
In England they only had desktops for use at school; one on the teacher’s desk in each classroom and some in the staff rooms. This meant that when you were at school, you were pretty much restricted to working alone at your computer in your classroom (a benefit of this was that you actually had your own room, even in secondary school).
It was much less collaborative by design, because you’d have to go to another room to talk with someone properly, and then you wouldn’t have your work with you. This meant that if you were wanting to plan collaboratively, for example, you would have to work off just one computer and email things or put them on the shared drive.
Having desktops at school also meant you had to have your own computer or laptop at home to do work on there. Then you’d have to log into the school system and save your work hoping it would be there (sometimes it just wasn’t), or cart everything around on a hard drive. For most of us it meant staying back at school later into the evening to get work done, instead of going home and working after dinner or later at night.
It also meant a LOT of emailing stuff to yourself, and triple-checking for your hard drive. A few times I left it at home and had to very quickly make a lesson from scratch again because I hadn’t emailed it to myself.
I’m very glad to be back in Aus with our school laptops – it really does save a lot of hassles organisationally.