The weblog of a traveller

   Aug 05

England III – Warwick

The Teach First summer institute takes on the challenge of picking out the essentials from a normally five (?) years education and convey it in six weeks. I would say, it succeeds beautifully. How can this be? Of course it helps that the candidates already know their subject inside and out, so we were able to focus on the pedagogy. Also, six weeks (five for the Norwegian cohort) full-time all-day tuition equals quite a long stretch of the quite leisurely paced student life you’d find in the regular program. But the secret is the existential fear nervous anticipation of a very soon-to-come responsibility of a classroom. What better motivation can you have?

It has been a haze. A very constructive and engaging haze of  challenge, support, goalsetting and reflection. Also good measures of acronyms and buzzwords, but always focused on the task, which has been to develop us candidates into effective and inspiring leaders ().

And suddenly it is over. All 1500 colleagues, tutors and associates have taken off, leaving a vacuum and the visible remains of the fabulous goodbye party last night. I stay the weekend to see a contact in Doncaster (and feeling very independent and world-conquering if I may say it!).

I recall something about a bumpy ride home...

If I were to draw out one main lesson from all of this, it would be that I am indeed not an island, and that even though I’ve had success with doing the important things mostly by myself, teams really do more than the sum of the participants (which all of you knew already. I guess I am a bit slow); and that seeking support is not the same as not taking full responsibility for your actions.

I’m hereby scrapping the mindset that if you want something done right you better do it yourself, replacing it by a just as flaky phrase about standing stronger together. Up until now, the science itself has been the main point, and being a people’s person was a fringe benefit. In schools I guess it is the other way round with people skills being the core, and subject knowledge is more of a bonus. Which makes the inner scientist a bit sad, but not as much as to take any glory away from the prospect of getting the chance to spread my half-manic enthusiasm for all things scientific.

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