Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year’s Wishlist

So 2012 comes to an end with most of the world preparing for a big blow out tonight (I say most of the world as us poor teachers in Turkey have a full day at work today followed by one day off to get over the late night and inevitable hangover) and then it’s time to say hello to:

Image cheekily nicked from this post on Tony Gurr’s allthingslearning blog

I’m not much of one for resolutions or generic hopes and dreams for a fresh start. However, there are some simple, really simple things that could make my life as a teacher of EFL so much better and easier… Most likely, these things will continue to bug for much of the new year but I thought I’d get them out there in the hope that some positive changes come about. Anyway, here’s my 2013 teaching wishlist:

  • A reliable PTT (Turkish Postal Service) - not immediately relevant to teaching but I am still waiting for my Masters certificate, transcripts and other paperwork that was apparently sent nearly 5 weeks ago.
  • A reliable 21st century standard internet connection in class that doesn’t require me to pre-load a 2 minute YouTube clip 15 minutes before we will need it just so it can be played uninterrupted.
  • On the subject of computers, while the retro look may appeal to some, actual retro computer equipment that strains to display basic files on the class blog or even run Windows XP smoothly is not so appealing. Upgrades please!
  • Less of the summative testing and more of the formative stuff, especially as that is what we ‘officially’ do anyway.
  • Less paper - the piles and piles of worksheets, homework tasks and grammar explanations for primary school kids that I see concern me both pedagogically and ecologically.
  • Some room in the syllabus for a bit of improvisation, creativity and LEARNING - we are simply too overloaded with stuff to do/cover/prep for at present.
  • For professional development to be seen by all concerned as a useful opportunity for, well, development rather than a chore to be endured or a set of motions to be gone through.
  • Early and appropriate action for students having difficulties in class - I don’t mean punishments or singling out, just recognition of problems and a pro-active response with plenty of help and support for students and teachers alike.
  • And finally, having 31st December 2013 as a holiday would be nice!

So simple but I can’t help but wonder…. too much to ask?

5 comments:

  1. I can't believe kids (and teachers) in Turkey don't have winter holidays! If not Christmas, then at least New Year's...
    You have a very practical wishlist, and it's much better than wishing for the stars in the sky. One day you may have all you wish for. Let it happen!

    @baibbb

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    1. We have a mid-year break in late Jan/early Feb but that's it - it's the price paid for a looooong summer holiday. :-)

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  2. Less paper, I'm with you on that! A Happy New Year to you!! Kathy

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    1. Thanks! And a happy new year to you too :-)

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  3. Dave, I recently started toying around with the idea of scoring essays with notations in Word, but my students would need an online Dropbox or e-mail account for me to send the feedback to for it to be effective. Since my students currently have neither, and that is not currently an option for them at our school right now. Many of my students do not have computers or Internet at home either, because I live in a rural and economically disadvantaged area. Common Core is going to require teachers to integrate technology into classes, which I think will force schools in America to upgrade their equipment. Currently, we have one computer lab for our entire high school, and the computers in it are quite contrary.

    Dropbox is an excellent program for them to turn in work electronically. If you install the "Drop It To Me", it creates a URL for the kids to go to and upload their papers. This URL requires them to enter a password you create. That situation pleases me due to security concerns, and by submitting them through the app they cannot see or modify anyone else's work. It works almost like saving to a flash drive in a way. If you have Dropbox installed on your computer, it will automatically download the files to a folder on the machine. It also has a feature where you can recover things that you deleted. I recently used all this for the first time, but with the downloading on my computer at home only. By the way, I am also running the older version of Word on a Windows XP machine, and share your frustration with technology that makes using it difficult. You can also access the files online by logging in.

    Jennifer Vernon, NBCT (AYA - English Language Arts)

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