Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head

Academic Manager Scenarios – Questions

Not all summer schools offer a decent induction — even for managers. Especially for managers in some cases. Being a DOS or Academic Manager at a summer school presents probably more challenges than doing the job in a year round school. There’s more pressure, a higher pace of change and the fact you’re likely to be living on site right in the pressure cooker, working longer hours than a regular year round job.

When I ran inductions for summer school as Academic Consultant for Bede’s School, I used to do a session based on these what if? questions. They are all based on real situations I’d collected over the six years I worked as Academic Manager and then Centre Director (see resource for training Centre Directors). A one hour slot wasn’t enough to talk them all through. If you’re off to work as AM/ADOS/DOS for the first or tenth time, have a think about these and, if possible, discuss them with someone else.

In printable form (2 pages): Academic Manager Scenarios

What would you do if …?

Managing staff – general

  • A teacher just does not seem to be able to remember what time they should be where and is always late/confused.
  • It’s time to let a couple of teachers go as the numbers are dropping and contracts are not for the full term. There is the possibility of work at one of the other centres which are different age groups to yours. You have the usual range of teachers, some very strong, some weaker, some very well liked and great additions to the staff atmosphere, some quieter and keep themselves to themselves. How do you make your decision?
  • One of the teacher’s you’ve chosen to let go doesn’t take it very well and demands to know why.
  • A teacher has done a newspaper project with their class. The resulting work features negative things about the school and a “gossip” section with a feature about the teacher’s drinking problem.

Managing staff – gross misconduct

  • A teacher has been disciplined by the Centre Director for suspected drunkenness on returning from their day off during their last week. You were not witness to what happened. As a result the teacher is being let go but insists they were not drunk and some teachers are taking their side and the result is that they aren’t going to the end of school meal as a protest.
  • Nothing could be proved but you’re sure one of the teachers is the owner of marijuana/alcohol found onsite. The Centre Director has let it go officially.
  • You and some of the teachers go out to the pub one night and one teacher gets really drunk and behaves offensively/aggressively towards you or someone else. It’s their day off the next day so they don’t return to school drunk. Do you need to do anything?
  • A teacher leaves in the middle of the night and you realise at breakfast.
  • The Activities Manager has told you on more than one occasion that the Art Room is not being left tidy enough after project lessons which means Activities staff have to clean up before they can use it in the afternoon.
  • Some of the teachers seem visibly uninterested/disgruntled from the start and have taken to hanging out together. There is just a tangible sense of negativity from them although their teaching is good and their lessons well planned.

Teacher support

  • A teacher does a terrible observation lesson. It’s not down to nerves, it’s down to having no variety of activities and the students looking visibly bored. How do you deal with it?
  • A teacher is so brilliant their lesson plans need very little active support or changes.
  • A fairly inexperienced teacher is not handling an unruly class well.
  • Some teachers want to lead input sessions.

Project lessons

  • A teacher suggests a project lesson which involves making medieval style catapults out of bolsa wood. There would need to be some purchases made i.e. wood, jigsaws. He’s drawn up a lesson plan which seems like a realistic time frame as he’s prepared to do most of the sawing himself.
  • A teacher hates project lessons as they feel they are not the creative type and don’t know what to do in them. Ones they have tried have admittedly not gone that well.

Working in a team

  • You don’t get on well with your Centre Director but don’t find you see them very often in the day anyway.
  • After week 3, you find you’ve not got as much work to do and are twiddling your thumbs a bit

Dealing with students

  • A student wants to move up but you suspect it’s because they want to be with their friends. They’ve told their parents and so the issue has come to your attention from the Centre Director.

I can come and train your managers for summer school with an additional session similar to this for Centre Directors. Strictly speaking I am on maternity leave right now but if you’re in the Madrid or Barcelona area I can squeeze in a few hours. The UK, well … maybe! Contact me and we’ll see if I can do it. Next year, I’ll definitely be free. Once I was Academic Consultant at Bede’s I took them from a not great (not terrible) British Council inspection report to being a centre of excellence and the 5th best summer school in the UK. Most of the gains in points of excellence were in the Academic sections and I was personally commended for the “inspiring” induction by a teacher in the focus group. Contact me here.



One comment on “Academic Manager Scenarios – Questions

  1. teachingbattleground
    June 30, 2015

    Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

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This entry was posted on June 25, 2015 by in Summer School and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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