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Power Games
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zactherat



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 292

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:37 am    Post subject: Power Games Reply with quote

so my supervisor gets us to submit lesson plans before each class.

at the beginning of this term, I asked her

"if we teach a class that we or someone else taught last term, can you just give us the old lesson plan and let us use/adapt/annotate it, then re-archive it for future use?"

Obviously this would be more efficient/progressive. But no - she doesn't even archive them in the first place. So what is the point in asking for them to be submitted?

I think they just do it to reinforce the hierarchy, reminding teachers that they are one of the least important parts of the business.



Mine used to observe my classes way too often too.. not that she really knows much about teaching.. but i started treating her like a classroom assistant (Can you go and get the AC remote from the other side of the school, please? Can you take that disgusting child to the bathroom so they can pee all over the floor, as is their wont?) and she stopped coming, ha.


Questions:

a) What tactics does your supervisor employ to exert power over your lowly self?

b) How do you respond to people (unnecessarily) emphasizing chain of command?
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 956

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:54 am    Post subject: Re: Power Games Reply with quote

zactherat wrote:
so my supervisor gets us to submit lesson plans before each class.

at the beginning of this term, I asked her

"if we teach a class that we or someone else taught last term, can you just give us the old lesson plan and let us use/adapt/annotate it, then re-archive it for future use?"

Obviously this would be more efficient/progressive. But no - she doesn't even archive them in the first place. So what is the point in asking for them to be submitted?

I think they just do it to reinforce the hierarchy, reminding teachers that they are one of the least important parts of the business.



Mine used to observe my classes way too often too.. not that she really knows much about teaching.. but i started treating her like a classroom assistant (Can you go and get the AC remote from the other side of the school, please? Can you take that disgusting child to the bathroom so they can pee all over the floor, as is their wont?) and she stopped coming, ha.


Questions:

a) What tactics does your supervisor employ to exert power over your lowly self?

b) How do you respond to people (unnecessarily) emphasizing chain of command?


I've got pretty much complete freedom to teach as I want. The only 'command' is that my FAO gives me a text book at the start of the semester and says, 'use that'. It doesn't even come with a teacher's book. The students also hate the text book and it has very few oral English activities - so I adapt it to make it more engaging with different activities), as long as I use it as a framework or give token reference to it, that's good enough. Though I don't know how my employer would find out if I wasn't using the book.

I get observed once a semester for 45 minutes. Normally my FAO comes into the room, does a head count and sits back. Last time I was observed they were stunned I had a lesson plan and it had areas such as 'expected problems and solutions' or basic patterns of interaction between students. When I was in the teachers' reference room, reading TEFL journals, I had a conversation along the following lines:

FAO: 'What are you doing here, Shroob?'
Deputy Dean: 'This is the teachers' reference room, right?'
FAO: 'Yes, but what are you doing here?'
Deputy Dean: 'Reading teaching journals.'
The fact that I would be reading up on TEFL related matters seem to surprise them.
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 2519
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like your style, Shroob.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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Zimmer



Joined: 26 Oct 2011
Posts: 223

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could be your supervisor needs to make sure people are actually planning their classes.
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MisterButtkins



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1180

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
a) What tactics does your supervisor employ to exert power over your lowly self?

b) How do you respond to people (unnecessarily) emphasizing chain of command?


Never happened at the university where I work. My boss minds her own business and only calls me to tell me about occasional schedule changes or tell me that she's coming by to pay me.
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walkinginmemphis



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:37 am    Post subject: Re: Power Games Reply with quote

zactherat wrote:
so my supervisor gets us to submit lesson plans before each class.

at the beginning of this term, I asked her

"if we teach a class that we or someone else taught last term, can you just give us the old lesson plan and let us use/adapt/annotate it, then re-archive it for future use?"

Obviously this would be more efficient/progressive. But no - she doesn't even archive them in the first place. So what is the point in asking for them to be submitted?

I think they just do it to reinforce the hierarchy, reminding teachers that they are one of the least important parts of the business.



Mine used to observe my classes way too often too.. not that she really knows much about teaching.. but i started treating her like a classroom assistant (Can you go and get the AC remote from the other side of the school, please? Can you take that disgusting child to the bathroom so they can pee all over the floor, as is their wont?) and she stopped coming, ha.


Questions:

a) What tactics does your supervisor employ to exert power over your lowly self?

b) How do you respond to people (unnecessarily) emphasizing chain of command?


Any real teaching job, anywhere in the world requires original or unique teaching (lesson) plans. It's professional and expected to actually do work, preparation for said work, and so on. Why is this an issue? Are you just seeking an easy way out to not do any work and make your few hundred dollars a month?

This is so unfortunate. This is a good example of why our Chinese counterparts think so little of us. It's not enough that foreign teachers are not required to work 12+ hours a day, 6 or more days a week, not called/requierd to attend staff meetings, attend other events, and so on? Too bad that that is not enough for you.
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xiguagua



Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 768

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:44 am    Post subject: Re: Power Games Reply with quote

walkinginmemphis wrote:


Any real teaching job, anywhere in the world requires original or unique teaching (lesson) plans. It's professional and expected to actually do work, preparation for said work, and so on. Why is this an issue? Are you just seeking an easy way out to not do any work and make your few hundred dollars a month?

This is so unfortunate. This is a good example of why our Chinese counterparts think so little of us. It's not enough that foreign teachers are not required to work 12+ hours a day, 6 or more days a week, not called/required to attend staff meetings, attend other events, and so on? Too bad that that is not enough for you.


C'mon. I'm sure most of us use our previous lessons as at least a reference point for new ones. If something works, you save it for use later, if it doesn't work, you adapt it to make it better. You don't come up with a great idea then just toss it in the trash after it's done, "well, I already did that 3 years ago, so I can't do it again"

I think the issue here is requesting an older teachers lesson plans to use. I agree that that is just laziness. I don't want another teachers lessons because I have no idea what they're doing, their thought process, their motivation, their direction.

Thankfully i've never had to submit my lessons because just as others have said, the schools don't even care, but that's not even an issue for me because if they want my lessons......I have them. It's not me doing any extra work for me, it's just showing them what i'm doing anyway.

Luckily I also have a lot of freedom, they basically told me to do whatever I want (Which I hate actually) and I don't even have a textbook in my classes. The students do.......but they still haven't given me one. I was told someone's going to watch my classes this month, but I don't expect anything more out of it.
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twilothunder



Joined: 09 Dec 2011
Posts: 442

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:54 am    Post subject: Re: Power Games Reply with quote

walkinginmemphis wrote:

Any real teaching job, anywhere in the world requires original or unique teaching (lesson) plans. It's professional and expected to actually do work, preparation for said work, and so on. Why is this an issue?


I agree.

It is churlish to ask for a previous teacher's lesson plans to copy from or simply use. UNLIKE textbooks, teacher's guides, proper facilities etc, lesson plans are not a resource the school is SUPPOSED to give you, it is work you are supposed to be doing for them!

Also, we spend half our lives discouraging Chinese students from copy and pasting others work and passing it off as theirs, the least we can do is set an example.
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choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3220
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:12 am    Post subject: Re: Power Games Reply with quote

zactherat wrote:
at the beginning of this term, I asked her

"if we teach a class that we or someone else taught last term, can you just give us the old lesson plan and let us use/adapt/annotate it, then re-archive it for future use?"



why ask? if you think it's a waste of time to submit lesson plans --- you
think it's simply a busywork assignment, and nobody will ever look at
them -- you're likely to hand in any ol' garbage. what makes you think
last year's teachR was any different?
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samhouston



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 417
Location: LA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject: Re: Power Games Reply with quote

choudoufu wrote:
what makes you think last year's teachR was any different?


Because it was me! Three years of making these ridiculous and identical lesson plans. For four-year-olds. Can I at least do them on a computer? "No, must be hand-written." Busy work. That's all it is. Then all of the sudden my co-worker and I were branded as "bad" and "lazy." Really? Four straight years of hassle-free dependability. Staff, kids, and parents all liked us. Oh, but the boss! Paranoid ex-Red Guard. So we quit. Two months later, they've already gone through six teachers. Ha ha, jackasses.
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chinadad



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 291
Location: chengdu

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I agree.

It is churlish to ask for a previous teacher's lesson plans to copy from or simply use. UNLIKE textbooks, teacher's guides, proper facilities etc, lesson plans are not a resource the school is SUPPOSED to give you, it is work you are supposed to be doing for them!

Also, we spend half our lives discouraging Chinese students from copy and pasting others work and passing it off as theirs, the least we can do is set an example

So if an ex- FT has a really good and original method of work - as illustrated through lesson-plans - the employer files all those good ideas and gems of inspiration away, on the hit and miss presumption that the next teacher doesn't need them??????????? Sounds a little moronic to me - and a waste of potential resources.
The only reason I can see why an employer would wish to hide this material was because they were too stupid and lazy to file it away - which 99.9% of Chinese employers probably are!!!!!
Posters here can't seriously think that reusing good ideas in the classroom has much in common with student copying and cheating Rolling Eyes
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teachingld2004



Joined: 17 Feb 2012
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:15 am    Post subject: lesson plans Reply with quote

Every teacher I know (almost) has countless teaching plans in their head.
I usually can go into an classroom at an time and "wing it".
Yes, I prepare for classes. Yes I have used the same lesson plans for years. (Changing them as levels change)

I suggest that the op change lesson plans with friends. My friends and I bounce ideas off each other.

I do not like the fact though that I can teach what ever I please. In my school my students have no books. I know that most books are crap, but at least the students should have something to fall back on. Can I order books? No. Can I force the students to buy a book I pick out, no So what I do is make copies of material at times so everyone has a hard copy. This can get quite expensive at times as my school does not supply us with any thing. Some times I print, some times I pay for copies, and some times I email them stuff.

Emailing them stuff does not work because no one yet has printed anything I have sent them.

I have all oral English classes, and that sucks with 35 students in a class where the desks are bolted to the floor.

And even though these are all English majors some of them are still at the "How are you" stage.

But if anyone has an trouble at all making lesson plans, go to the good old internet. "Breaking English" is a great site.
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twilothunder



Joined: 09 Dec 2011
Posts: 442

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chinadad wrote:
Quote:
I agree.

It is churlish to ask for a previous teacher's lesson plans to copy from or simply use. UNLIKE textbooks, teacher's guides, proper facilities etc, lesson plans are not a resource the school is SUPPOSED to give you, it is work you are supposed to be doing for them!

Also, we spend half our lives discouraging Chinese students from copy and pasting others work and passing it off as theirs, the least we can do is set an example

So if an ex- FT has a really good and original method of work - as illustrated through lesson-plans - the employer files all those good ideas and gems of inspiration away, on the hit and miss presumption that the next teacher doesn't need them??????????? Sounds a little moronic to me - and a waste of potential resources.
The only reason I can see why an employer would wish to hide this material was because they were too stupid and lazy to file it away - which 99.9% of Chinese employers probably are!!!!!
Posters here can't seriously think that reusing good ideas in the classroom has much in common with student copying and cheating Rolling Eyes


Yes, it is useful to have a repository of good resources other teachers may use.

However, it doesn't change the fact that schools are entitled to expect well-formulated lesson plans that pertain to YOUR lesson.

It is something that they can reasonably expect you to produce if asked.
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zactherat



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 292

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

twilothunder wrote:
Also, we spend half our lives discouraging Chinese students from copy and pasting others work and passing it off as theirs, the least we can do is set an example.


As an EAL teacher, lesson plans are a tool of effective teaching, not a test of creativity and originality (so your comparison here with student assignments is flawed).


Have you ever looked at the comparison between medical and educational practice?

One aspect is that medical practitioners work in an environment supported by an easily accessed, searchable body of evidence, which details previous examples of successful and unsuccessful practice.
Referring to evidence ideally informs practitioners' choices, without having to go through trial and error themselves, meaning medical practice as a whole progresses as saved energy can be expended on further development.

(Or in the case of my lazy self, it would mean more "me time" during office hours, ha.)

Obviously if teachers were to be able to look at, say, proven successful methods for teaching the differences between the present perfect simple vs. continuous, it would save us time in planning - or at least give us perspective in terms of our own teaching style.
This is called 'evidence-based practice', and whilst it is admittedly better to base our work on published research, archived lesson plans can still be a valuable resource to refer to. Wall Street English provide a good example of efficient use of effective planning materials - is it just a coincidence that they are the highest-paying (so probably most profitable) language school on the city streets?



choudoufu wrote:
what makes you think last year's teachR['s lesson planning] was any different?


Not my first year there, so.. experience tells me so.

Average time it takes me to plan a class is halved if I am looking at a previous lesson plan. It's helpful whether I agree or disagree with it.


If lesson plans are going to be used like that, fine, I'll happily submit them.
But if not, then there's no need to care about anything other than my student retention numbers - I'm absolutely fine with that too,
working like that is much easier than being held accountable for progressing the 'academic product' of the school,
but don't ask me to act like a serious educator if you're just going to discard my academic contribution - that's exertion of power through assigning fruitless tasks, like punishing students by making them write lines.
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GeminiTiger



Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 999
Location: China, 2005--Present

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of you guys are super serious.
Laughing
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