Sunday, March 27, 2011
Taking on new roles - a cautionary tale
Picture by Kevin Omara from designVerb
I have just had an extremely busy 2 weeks (so what else is new you ask) being immersed in my additonal role as Personal Project (PP) co-ordinator at our school, very probably at the expense of my real job of Head of Library and MYP TL.
This PP role is something I volunteered to do - without extra pay or time (would be interested to see how they could give me more than 24 hours in a day) as part of my approach to learning about the MYP curriculum, immersion and being seen as something other than just 'the librarian' at school. (I know it should be enough - but going beyond the normal role gives people a different perspective of the skills and expertise you have).
The Personal Project Co-ordinator role is exciting, it is challenging and it has given me great opportunities to have fabulous conversations with the students and will also allow me to help to direct them to appropriate information sources and help them in an authentic manner with their research. The role also involves a lot of record keeping, creative problem solving, consulting and of course time. It also means a lot of chasing up of students who are not doing what they need to be doing to stay on track.
It has also allowed me to reflect on my organisation and communication as I am co-ordinating 40 staff, 80 students plus interested parents. I have no problem organising large events, (organise an international Wiggles concert for 5,000 children? no problem - did it three times) and completing large problems within time frames (set up a library from scratch in 23 days - again challenging overwhelming, but completed on time and and to a realistic working standard), so co-ordinating this many people and projects is not at all daunting and planning the whole thing backwards is what I consider an enjoyable, dynamic challenge. My problem is the micro organisation - the paperwork, the checks, the letters home, the small stuff.
This role is an opportunity for me to really get that sorted in my repertoire of skills. I hate the time the small stuff takes. When students don't hand things in by the deadline, or teachers and students don't follow the instructions I find that this messes my planning and I need to make allowances for this in my schedule, put the brakes on my plans and I have to reassess what comes next. The Personal Project is also a curriculum subject, so keeping records of lateness, students having problems etc is paramount. Sigh....learning curve coming up.
On reflecting on the past two weeks, I became very tunnel visioned on the plan and task, constantly thinking about the plans, the possible interruptions, problems and possible solutions. My thoughts were completely focused on the project and nothing else fitted in my head. I know I have not been able to make any major decisions regarding the library and even home - everything has been put on hold until I was through a specific phase of the planning. I am through the tunnel now (until next time) and this blog post is testimony to that. Phew.
Does any one else work like this?