School vs Real World Expectations

Sun Dial

Sun Dial

My Y13 Applied ICT class are busy working away on their multimedia projects. They each create a learning resource in Flash that incorporates text, images, sound, video and animation in order to provide an interactive and engaging tool that teachers and students can use.

Every year they start in September and finish in February, that’s 6 months, and they generally produce really good products that I (and more importantly, they) can be really proud of.

I see them for 3 hours a week, which is equivalent to half a day in an office.

I see them 6 hours a fortnight, which is equivalent to one day in an office.

So in those 6 months, where they have 20 weeks, or 10 fortnights, they actually have the equivalent of 10 working days to complete the whole thing, from inception to completion.

To produce what they’re doing in a fortnight of working time is (to my mind) phenomenal. I’ve worked with major multimedia providers in the past who would struggle to produce work of this quality to that timescale.

I must make sure I tell me class how impressive their feat is the next time I see them…


Good enough ?!?!

I’m writing this blog with stolen time (the best kind, IME).

My Thursday nights are normally spent painstakingly preparing a quiz for my form. We have a picture round with 15 pictures (spot the actor, name the TV show, etc.), 15 anagrams, 15 subject specific questions (English lit, English lang, Maths, Science, French, German…) and 15 news questions. It takes me a good hour, sometimes more – and all for a 15 minute registration period.

I’m proud of that quiz though. It has educational as well as entertainment value. It builds teamwork. It makes the registration time seem more worthwhile. It supports the rewards system as the top 2 teams get merits.

Tonight though, I’m tired. First week back after the Christmas break, jobs appearing on my desk quicker than I can shift them off it – you know what it’s like. So, I’ve nipped to onlinequizarea, sorted out 4 rounds from there and I’m writing this with the time instead.

Is that fair? Is that good enough? Is it as educational? Well, yes, yes and no, probably. But that’s OK.

I’ve told this story a number of times, but when I did my PGCE I was a year or so out of academia. My early assignments were drafted, redrafted, proofed, drafted and then submitted. I worked really hard on those assignments and put a lot into it. Then I started my teaching practice…

The assignments in the second half of the course were tackled slightly differently. They got done. Once. And then submitted. They were done in good time, they weren’t rushed, but they didn’t go through multiple drafts. I didn’t have the time and, frankly, they weren’t a priority for me.

Strangely, I got better marks on those assignments than I did on the first!

The lesson there? In this job (and, I’m sure, many others) there just isn’t time to do everything perfectly. And there really isn’t an advantage to doing so anyway. Do things properly, do them well, but sometimes you do need to prioritise, sometimes you do need to do something that’s merely ‘good enough’.

And that’s OK.

Image attribution: Good enough ?!?! Originally uploaded by AUSTIN_O