Saturday, April 27, 2019

A Part-Time Job Activity Pack

I'm back to doing what I enjoy most: creating learning resources. Today I'm pleased to announce the publication of an activity pack to complement the School of Global Access ESL Literacy reader entitled A Part-Time Job. It's about a student named Fazil who looks in the newspaper for a suitable job ad. He finds an ad for part-time help in a clothing store. He goes to the store and fills out an application.

Because the idea of a simple search through the classifieds is a bit outdated, I decided to include references to three other methods of finding work: the Internet, networking (talking to people), and looking for signs in shop windows.

This book is actually a bit too easy for my current cohort, but I used it this week because Easter Monday made it a short week. I tend to save the more challenging stories for weeks in which we have the full five days.

The complement of activities I developed, however, is targeted to my students' slightly higher level of ability. I hope you'll still be able to make use of parts of the activity pack and that you'll let me know if you do. Don't wait till you see me at a conference; shoot me an email or leave a comment on the blog, why dontcha?

Responding to a needs assessment in which you readers took part, I made a point of including ten colour picture flashcards as well as matching text flashcards. It was tricky trying to depict the concepts "full time" and "part time" in images, but my students got the idea right away.

You can find the new resources on my website under LITERACY - JOBS, a new section under development. Cheers!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A New Leaf

Whether you celebrated Nowruz a month ago, celebrated Passover this weekend, are celebrating Easter today, or celebrate nothing at all, I raise a glass in your direction and echo my partner's dinner table toast: to rebirth, to freedom, to spring.
Classic Southern Buttermilk Pie

Perhaps it is the longer days and emerging light green shoots affecting my spirit, but it does feel to me to be a time of fresh starts and beckoning freedom.

One of my colleagues is leaving us this week for the birth and early bonding with her second baby while another teacher prepares to fill her shoes while she's away. Some of us are using the new PBLA guidelines as a reason to purge file cabinets of forms no longer needed (sorry, trees!) and rethink our entire approach to complying with the government-mandated framework. Others hear freedom's call and are looking to broaden their horizons, seeking new opportunities and other ways to use their gifts, experience, skills, and education.

I am in Ohio today with a group of rowdy, mostly extroverted men who are quickly endearing themselves to me. They are beginning to feel to me like family. It's good to know that one can begin again at any stage of life.

How about you?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Quiet Subversion

More and more these days, the topic of discussion around me seems to be compensation and fairness.  This week's blog post by Jennifer Gonzalez of Cult of Pedagogy is an interview with Angela Watson, founder of the 40-hour Teacher Workweek Club, and it's a good read (or podcast, if you prefer to listen).

Before the days of PBLA, I might have clucked my tongue, shaken my head, and thought, "Those poor overworked public school teachers!" Now I find myself nodding as I read along, agreeing with the proposed strategies, agreeing with statements such as the following:
We will work dozens of unpaid hours every week, we will make our materials from scratch, we will spend money from our own pay checks. We’ll neglect our health, our relationships, our home, even our own kids because we need to do whatever it takes for students.
Another idea from the interview that resonated with me was number three under "ways to push back." Actually, all the strategies named by Angela could also help us in our professional settings. If you have time, listen to or read the transcript of the interview and tell me what you think.

As for me and my professional world, it was an interesting week. Here is a list of just some of the loosely related things that happened to me or were observed by me recently:

  • Was asked by my supervisor if I would be willing to sit down for a mediated discussion with a student. I agreed to do so only if it could be done on paid time (i.e., not on my lunch hour nor after 3:00; that leaves my two 15-minute paid breaks).
  • Received a request from someone in another city. S/he is in need of copies of collective agreements in force at SPOs implementing PBLA. If you have one handy, send it my way and I will see that it reaches that person.
  • Heard a PBLA lead teacher say that s/he is way behind in his/her marking because his/her son/daughter has exams right now. Son/daughter has promised to do all the marking in a few more days, after midterms.
  • Learned of yet another person who is leaving the field because of PBLA.
What about you? What's happening in your world this week?