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Including my colleagues

August 12, 2010

I am the coordinator of a small ESL program. Coordinator simply means I get paid to work overtime, i.e., in addition to a full teaching load, to organize classes, design curriculum, decide who teaches what, select textbooks, oversee a lab with 25 computers and student workers, make sure everything gets printed on time, advise new students and current students, and make schedules for each teacher’s classes. The other day I was talking with my boss, and she was talking about the difficulty of making such a schedule for a new textbook. She noted several teachers had worked on it, but it still wasn’t finished. I suggested she put it on GoogleDocs. She said she would think about it.

It took me a day to get it for myself. Today, I told a couple of the adjuncts I would put their schedules on GoogleDocs, and they could make adjustments to the schedules as needed. I suppose there will be problems with this, but it will also get the schedules closer to what the teachers really do in classes that I don’t teach or only teach occasionally. I had a teacher submit a completely revised schedule for a class that I had tried to update a year ago from the schedule I inherited. I have never taught that particular class, the only class of the 9 in our program I have never taught. That will be the new schedule for that class for the fall. Putting the schedules on GoogleDocs will help lessen this disparity between what the schedule says and what the teacher does.

The adjuncts tend to see me as a boss, but I don’t think of myself that way. I don’t observe their classes nor do I evaluate them. I work with these colleagues, admire the dedication and intelligence they bring to their classes and to helping the student. I try help in some ways such as making sure materials are available. However, I rely on them to help me with their feedback and their experience. The program would continue without me, but it would not continue without them.

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