I find myself at another one of those interesting crossroads in my teaching life. Undertaking the reflective writing for this Professional Formation application has made me think about how far I have come and where I might want to go to in the next few months/years. The VITAE project would define me as a mid-career teacher (8-15 years) and as such it’s not unusual that I might be feeling a bit lost in terms of where I am going. As I am writing this reflection I am aware that I haven’t paid enough attention to my own learning needs recently. In an HEI the emphasis is often upon output of staff not input for staff and I haven’t attended any events in recent years that were just for love or for enjoyment – they’ve been about the courses I’m teaching or about dissemination of research. I feel like I want to learn something – I want to be a student again.
But deciding on what sort of learning it is to be is problematic.
My appraiser would expect my learning to be the next stage in my academic career – i.e EdD or PhD. But I’m scared about going back down that route after having a negative experience before – I think that it was easier to leave the study because I was enjoying the FE teaching so very much. And, there’s part of me that just doesn’t see the point of struggling through that level of study in a teaching intensive university. The questions that's in my head is - what difference would it make?
I think that I’d like to do a practical hands-on course about using Web 2.0 technologies. I love using PebblePAD but it’s easy to get caught in your comfort zone. I’ve had some wonderful experiences and results during the past 5 years but I am ready for some different challenges now.
Perhaps I do need to acknowledge that the secondment to ESCalate has been highly developmental – but it has come at a cost. I am seconded to 2 projects and have a half day a week commitment to PCE. This has proved impossible at times and I know that my physical and emotional health has suffered. However, the opportunity to be involved in projects such as TERN has given me a glimpse of what it would be like to learn again – and I want more of that!
Note to self:
Decisions must be made about career development – discuss with appraiser.