Thursday 22 January 2015

Time Management and Professional Development Review

Professional Development Review (PDR)

This involves three meetings a year, about an hour long each, and replaces what we used to call appraisal. We’re encouraged to be ambitious but at the same time keep SMART principles in view. This means that the targets we set for ourselves should be:
·         Specific
·         Measurable
·         Attainable
·         Relevant
·         Time-bound
As a Senior Lecturer I’ve had to work with some other colleagues on their PDR. Mainly they’ve been junior colleagues but I have also worked with another Senior Lecturer who like me is also a Programme Leader.
We have a meeting half way through the academic year to see if we’re on target and a final one at the end of the year.      

My own objectives

We’re normally set between four and eight objectives. I’ve set four or five for my full-time colleagues and three for my two 0.5 colleagues. My director has set me all eight. However, that’s not too bad as there is nothing on my “list” that I hadn’t been planning to do anyway.
Here’s my list:
1.      Improve continuation (this means get more students to complete their studies)  
2.      Create a new joint programme with another programme leader
3.      Carry on TEL  (Technology Enhanced Learning) activities
4.      Develop engagement with feeder schools    
5.      Run my YA conference
6.      Complete first draft of Girl in a Smart Uniform
7.      Deliver paper at Great Writing Conference
8.      Get a proposal for Not Just Fluffy Bunnies out to one publisher. This will be a monograph about the dark side of children’s literature. Is there actually a light side at all, I’m wondering?     

My progress to date

  1. I’m constantly working on continuation – always looking at ways of improving student engagement. I’m also overhauling our personal tutor system.  I think this will have a huge impact.   
  2. Two other program leaders and I sat in the museum café the other day and designed the new programme. Two people who could have signed it off walked into the café as we finished. I’ve now sold it to several of our colleagues. It looks as if it might happen.
  3. I’m attending several more TEL courses and I’m no longer shy about passing on messages to the rest of the school – even though that’s a lot of people!
  4. As soon as I’ve finished my marking, I’ll be contacting feeder schools again. I’m also getting out a mailshot about my Holocaust workshop based on The House on Schellberg Street.
  5. The YA conference happens on 21 March. I’ve now secured full funding.
  6. The first draft of Girl in s Smart Uniform is already complete though I’m very aware even before I start rereading and editing that the structure is not quite right yet.
  7. My paper has been accepted for the Great Writing Conference. I’m currently still working on the literature review for it.
  8. Also working on the literature review for Not Just Fluffy Bunnies but I’ve actually started writing one of the chapters.
So, we’re getting there?

Not a to do list but a plate

I call it a ‘to do list’ in fact, but it’s actually more of a plate. I look at the array of things that need doing and decide in a time-framed way and on a task by task basis what is urgent and important, what is important, what is urgent and what can wait a while. Note, something that is only urgent and not important comes after what is important but not urgent. Stephen Covey would be proud of me.
So, I pick up a bit of a task as if it were a forkful peas or a slice of potato on my plate.   


Work routines

My first priority is always my writing. The first two available hours any day are spent on that.  Then comes the main sweep through emails. I deal with everything I can, make sure that what can’t be done right now is programmed in to be dealt with in a timely manner. The sweep goes back to the beginning of the day before. Thereafter, I’ll check again between tasks and deal with any urgent ones or any I can do very quickly as they come in.  
Then, anything that must be done by the end of the day. This can include preparation for teaching on the next day for example.
Currently we’re marking. For me to finish in time and complete any moderation, I must mark eight scripts a day. That’s four hours’ work.
Then, on to the plate, always looking for the top priority.
I achieve a lot each day and even though there’s a lot still to do I mainly manage not to be overwhelmed.
I also punctuate my activity with some quite organised Social Media engagement. That acts a little like the water cooler. A break and a chance to interact.             

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