Layers of admin

The 2 people in a 121 lesson are the teacher and the student. In a group lesson it’s students of course. This structure is what the lesson is ie a person who wants help and a person who can give help. However, it’s not always that simple.

Introduce your boss and his boss, maybe ADOS and DOS. Then there may be a director, a head of teaching/senior teacher or a course manager. All of this is in the school but even before the student came there was a sales office, a magazine, an advert and even word of mouth. Everything affected what the student expected and what you should deliver.

If the student is from a company there’s his boss, the person in charge of organising the training, your boss and other admin people on either side.

Due to all this other ‘noise’ it’s not surprising that we lose sight of the student-teacher bond and why it’s not always possible to focus on what they want or need and what we would like to do.

You could argue that all these ‘experts’ know what the students need far better than them but is that true and doesn’t all that ‘noise’ just make everything more complicated?


7 thoughts on “Layers of admin

  1. Everything is grey here. Some students know almost exactly what they want. Some students know somewhat what they want. Other students only know very vaguely what they want. All of them have different kinds of expectations too: how the teacher should act, organise, teach, look like, sound like….

    I’m not sure the ‘noise’ you mention makes it any more confusing for all concerned than it already is. Once the class begins, things get clearer for everyone.

    • But what if students make requests and your boss says no or their boss or the person in charge of…? What if they’re forced to take the class and don’t want to? What if they speak English fluently and don’t really need it? What if they don’t speak at all and have been told to become fluent in 10 lessons? What if your boss plans too/not high enough lessons/courses for you to deliver? All these make problems for me at some time or another.

    • Last year I ran an English course for BA students supposedly Scientific English. We have groups of different levels, all good but we were only allowed one book for everyone. Then some departments said “can you help my students with X, Y, Z. Then reports popped up and it turned out that everyone department did them differently. Then some were looking for internships in England so wanted help…The list goes on. In the end it was crazy and there was no course anymore just bits n’ pieces. The main difficulty was that we would only get these messages before the lessons ie at 8:50 for a 9 lesson or even during the lesson or actually from the students. I put all that down to poor communication. A good example is when we did CVs and some classes had already done them in another department.

        • Yep, me too. I used to deliver the same class 5 times a week at one point and the others had done that for 30+ years. Same book and copies too! The problem was that ‘change’ was frowned upon so there was a weird atmosphere where we’d have meetings and alleged ‘ideas’ but nothing was really changed. Yes, a new book was introduced and a course was adapted but the teachers just used the old book and taught the new course the same as the old one. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks perhaps??

          In the end I did agree that the new book wasn’t suitable but the old one was in B/W, had tapes and was over 20 years old. Strangely though, it had been recently reprinted, still with the tapes too and no colour.

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