From July to December…what happened?
DoSing happened, that’s what!
We started back on September 5th. One of our teachers had written over the summer holidays to resign. Luckily we had some good CVs on file, and were able to arrange Skype interviews. We found a very keen person who knew our city already, which is a bonus. She arrived the second week, and part of my DoS duty was to carry out her induction. I met with her to go over courses, materials, the school itself, Cambridge exams, and timetabling details. Upon reflection, I can say that this is an area where I can definitely improve as a DoS. She had many questions over the next few weeks which I should have anticipated.
Question: What is YOUR induction process like?
There were a lot of placement tests throughout September – our adult courses start in October. My timetable for September was as follows:
10:30 – 12:30: Meeting with teachers, planning, creating an in-house training schedule and materials, and reviewing course materials.
15:00 – 19:00 – Placement tests…
Question: How are placement tests organised in your ELTO?
July 2018. Three very intense weeks while I began to put what I had learned into practice. We began with a full staff meeting. The agenda had been planned in advance by the school director and myself, with input from the teachers and administration staff. This is important – we want all staff to be involved in decisions which concern their working environment.
I spent some time getting my time management system in place. I drew on input from Sandy Millin (Taking Back Time) and the academic planner from Productive Flourishing. To start with, I used their free pages, but then bought the academic planner, and I am so pleased I did. I use it to guide my thinking as I begin to get my head around all that needs doing.
During the first weeks, I met with each teacher for an initial apraisal meeting. I wanted to get a feel for where they are in their teaching journey, and how I can help them develop. I also started the first observation cycle. Week Four would have seen me finish that, however, I got pneumonia, of all things, and ended up spending that week in bed.
Thanks for joining me! I am very pleased you have found my blog. If you have, it might mean that you are in my current position – moving from a teaching role into the leadership and management role of Director of Studies. How is that going for you? What steps have you taken to prepare?
I was offered this position (context: Director of Studies at a small, private Language Teaching Organisation (ever after to be refered to as LTO), in a smallish city in the centre of Italy) 6 months ago. I agreed to take it on only if I was able to finish the academic year as a teacher – I was working in a small private international school as a 5th grade teacher, and wanted to be able to end the year with my class.
That was not a problem, and so I had 6 months to mentally prepare myself for the transition. I looked around for some courses, and decided to do the International House Online Teacher Training Institute Director of Studies course – a 12 week online course which covers almost everything you may need to know in your new role. That was probably the best decision I made, after saying yes to the job, of course!
After talking to the director of the LTO several times, I realised that one of my main duties would be planning and running in-house training sessions. I followed the DoS course with the IH OTTI Teacher Trainer Certificate, which at the time of writing, I am still completing. It is also proving to be very useful.
That is the background. This blog is meant to be a diary of the transition to DoS – I hope that you will enjoy sharing the journey, and perhaps learn something from my experiences.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton