Saturday, March 05, 2005


It has been a whirlwind world of late. Things happening. Me doing things.

I am headlong into work at my old language school (or rather the new incarnation of my old language school) and am enjoying it immensely. I have constructed a curriculum for a course I will be teaching from now on in the afternoons. And my morning classes have allowed me to reclaim my ESOL instincts, and also apply some of my primary school pedagogy, in a constructive way. The new structure of my old school and the administrative systems are interesting. The remnant of teachers of the previous era (when I left in 2003) often moan, but it is much better than that which we had previously. It is fairer too, and loaded with more accountability. The previous regime tended to be a clumsy managed rort. Once I learnt the new system I had much more appreciation for it.

Interesting trends for the last few weeks have been the vivid dreams. Just last night some other people were talking about dreams, and it got me thinking about my own. Almost every morning I have recalled my dreams. The carnivorous megafauna are still there, so are the trips into the Elsewhere.

Another interesting thing I discovered last night was that I seem to think I have met people before. And after I mused about my possible links with certain people, suddenly a Buddhist nun suddenly asked me if she had met me before. Maybe there is some deja vu in the air.

Physically, I am still plagued by foot-problems. And now I have a weird occasional nausea. It struck in particular at Whiter's party, but that was not the end of it, although nothing has come close to that which I felt that night. Initially I thought it was food poisoning, later I attributed it to expired Apple Cider Vinegar (don't ask) but since I still have it now and irregularly, I don't think so. An interesting mystery. The last time I had persistent weird symptoms, it was anaemia... But I don't think it is that now.

I am off the unemployment benefit, which was an interesting process. They want some of their money back now, which is fair enough but an annoyance to return. It is an interesting question whether I should have been on the benefit in the first place seeing I am hardly destitute. But then that is not necessarily how I think we should view the role of the Unemployment Benefit. Being formerly employed, I paid a reasonable tax for many years. This tax goes towards many things for our common good. I have decided that part of the tax I pay is simply Unemployment Insurance, and it is on that basis that I took it. I am employed again and will be contributing tax till the end of the year at least.

Yes, I am certain of my employment, and a rash of interviews have brightened me up on the primary school front. I had one at Pt Chevalier Primary just yesterday and will head to deepest, darkest Howick (Willowbank Primary School) on Wednesday to be interviewed. The Army Museum mentioned they are also shortlisting now, so fingers crossed there. My employment at my language school will be pretty secure in the mean time.


James said...

Out of a business interest, what are the new procedures at your language school which make it more effective?

Crypticity said...

Firstly, a clear difference in the teaching hourly wage and the non-teaching hourly wage and a restriction on the amount you can claim for either. Preparation, curriculum development, marking could all be claimed albeit at a lower rate (which is fair enough). But these too can be capped. A meeting might be set for 30 minutes so you can only claim that much for it. This means that meetings operate more efficiently.

The responsibility for recording wages is put on the worker. So meeting times, curriculum development is recorded by the teacher. This means teachers are remunerated for all the time that they are working (previously you just got the paycheck at the end of the month and assumed it was all there). These times are cross-checked against your clock-in and out times. Previously, it was the administrations job to make sure you got paid for meetings, but there was little incentive to do beyond what was required.

A good example of positive incentive is prep time. We are now paid a half-hour preparation time paid (at the non-teaching rate), but to get it you must be clocked in at least half an hour before the lesson. This encourages people to come in earlier and be prepared as well as recognising that time is taken to prepare outside class. Previously, some teachers (not me, I was the early bird) would wander in roughly at 9am, leading to student complaints that the teacher was late and also ducking out to get things etc.

The best example of a positive incentive system is the use of a $50 bonus if a prospective student views your class decides to sign on. Formerly, observers were often regarded as an annoyance to teachers (also with the fact they would be sprung on you 5 minutes before class). Now, teachers look forward to them and treat them well. And as a result, they sign on.

Naturally most of these are win-win situations for the school, teachers and students.

James said...

That's all consistent with what I learnt in my Commerce degree. The measurement and reward systems must be congruent with the work practices that you want to implement.