My goal to learn something new every day
We had a training session at work today. It was just a typical session, focussing mainly on teaching techniques. The standard kind that most teachers will be familiar with: elicitation, correction and feedback, concept checking and so on. It was delivered by two of the national managers in my company, and was essentially just a review of the training given to new teachers when they first enter the company. Think of it as a brief summary of the kind of class on the techniques you might find on a CELTA. I’ve taken part in this workshop a number of times, and have delivered it many more times over the last few years. While it wasn’t groundbreaking by any means, I don’t mind doing these every now and again.
The timing was especially apt because, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Kevin Stein’s brief blog post is something I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last couple of days (that’s two mentions now in as many days!), and Matthew Noble is also asking ELTers to complete a short survey on feedback after tasks for a presentation he’s working on (click the link to complete the survey). So it’s fair to say that correction and feedback have been swimming around in my head this week.
I viewed today’s training session as a way to look at a previous training session through perhaps a slightly different lens. I was actually given the option (kind of) of not having to attend if I was busy, but I thought it might still be worthwhile. It’s a bit like watching a movie and then watching it again and noticing something different that you didn’t notice the first time. It’s also nice to work and discuss with other teachers and members of staff (the Korean support staff, who while they don’t spend most of their time teaching in the traditional sense, also attended the session).
From the actual session itself, I don’t know whether I could say that I came away and learned something new, but I hadn’t expected to going in. But then that’s not always the point of these sessions. However, there is one thing I did kind of learn. At the very beginning of the session, the facilitator asked everyone to stand up and arrange themselves in order from shortest serving member to longest serving member, with teachers on one side and Korean staff on the other. In our centre, I am the second oldest (in terms of time at the company) member, so end up quite far at the end. Starting with the newest member of staff, we had to introduce ourselves and say how long we had been teaching at the centre. As it got nearer to me, I thought (as I tend to always do) how could I be different (special?). Everyone was giving a fairly rough estimate of the number of years and months they’d been with the company. So I whipped out my phone and searched Google for “how many days”. There are a lot of sites that will let you put in a date and it will work out how many days have elapsed since that date.
The first site I found was this one. It’s actually a site to say how many days old you are, but essentially the same for my purposes. The site tells you how many days, weeks, months and years have passed since any given date. I started working here on December 1 2008. At first, when I looked down at my phone, I thought I’d made a mistake. It showed 2285 days or 326 weeks and 3 days. That can’t be right I thought. But then looking at the number of years, 6 years, 13 weeks and 3 days, yep, that’s right. While that might not be a lot compared to some (many) other ELTers I know either in person or online, considering I started teaching right out of university, it’s quite a bit. I don’t know what it is about seeing things that are normally quantified in years now as a number of days and weeks, but it certainly makes you realise just how much time 6 years really is.