It’s week 2 and opening, or re-opening, lines of communication as well as getting organised after a break can be a bit of a thought. But ‘out with the old, in with the new’.
So new plans are on the go, and importantly everyone should now know where they need to be, what they should do, and when. The old Zoom links are replaced and consigned to history and past lessons are now archived, making space for the new. And that includes the new class of university students I’ve yet to meet.
Feels like I’ve slipped fairly easily back into the business of organisation, though, after one or two looming deadlines worked on the post-holiday inertia. A job well done? Well, a job done. And a necessary one.
Put information ‘out there’ this week in an article on LinkedIn about Erasmus and the UK ‘alternative’, the Turing scheme for students to study or work abroad. It seems the people who need to know are those most in the dark, so hopefully I can shed some light as I keep my ‘international eyes’ on developments. It seems to be getting some attention too.
Started the week’s teaching with a setback as the employer of two of my corporate clients is reducing training spend to tighten their belts. The positive is that this is only a reduction not a cancellation, so I’ll keep contact and importantly momentum with the students themselves. I’ll put the time to use with a little renewed effort on the website, so still moving forward.
Made ‘first contact’ with the group of first year uni students I’ll be teaching from next week. Introducing myself and making sure they know I’ll be supporting them throughout the semester is an important step to building the rapport I’m used to having. It may ‘only’ be an email but it’s more than a gesture and hopefully appreciated as such. And it’s been a useful refresher on the technology too – teaching on three different platforms means I do need to keep up-to-date.
Working on first impressions, too, in the form of an email in English and Spanish to the first tranche of potential intern employers. It’s a linguistic challenge, soon to extend to another in French, but important to make the right sort of statement and in the right way. I firmly believe that any effort to communicate in another’s native language, even if imperfect, rarely goes unnoticed and unappreciated. These will be set out in coming weeks to see who’s planning, who’s hiring and when, as well as how I can help both the students and the employers along the way.
And as regards other people’s languages, I’ve been using the app DuoLingo to brush up on my skills and have a little fun along the way. Romanian proved a challenge too far last year, although I can at least ‘mind my Ps and Qs’ with some confidence. Over Christmas and New Year I’ve focussed on renewing my Russian, and shortly I’ll be heading back to swot up on Spanish. It may seem like extra work but actually it’s a nice distraction and really helps with understanding some of the basic differences with English. It helps me empathise with the whole learning another language thing, so puts me on the same page as many of my students.
A week of progress in communication, and hopefully plenty more development like this to come. See you next week!