Week 14: Scheduled absence

08/01/2018

This was my first absence from the course; I utilised the time to review my new SOW and plan for the term ahead. This extra time provided an ideal reflection point, where I could specifically comment upon my approach to SOW’s. During my time teaching at HE, SOW’s were not necessarily required; there were overall plans and objectives in place, where timetables outlined the ‘gist’ of each lesson. Typically, the direction of such lessons, were as simple as, ‘Studio lesson on film noir lighting’. This approach did work, where in conjunction with the units learning objectives, the teacher and learners were aware of what to do. I will be honest in saying, that on numerous occasions, where double bookings, staff sickness and other such interruptions occurred, a ‘wing-it’ approach was taken. Now while the majority of educators will frown upon that idea and most likely deny their own experience in this; in truth, it is highly likely that all teachers, across all levels, have no doubtedly at stumbled through lessons and got through by the skin of their teeth. This is not ideal, but as long as learning took place, it was measured and produced results, then that is progress.

Now with my new educational pathway into FE, creating SOW’s were a requirement; I initially found them as an arduous task, where I just wanted to focus on the resources and handouts that would enrich and directly inform the learners. Now whilst this motive was excellent, there still needed to be a guiding document, which governed the approach and overall objectives of each weeks activities. This came to light recently, where I was unwell and could not attend two days of teaching; this did not impede the development of my learners, as they were approaching the end of the unit and were all on track. Yet upon reflection, I realised that if this interruption was at a crucial part of the term, it could have had an adverse, domino effect on the learners progression. I understand, that the role of a SOW, is to provide an overall map of the curriculum, where each week is clearly mapped, objectives are clear, content is accessible, so that any tutor could step in and deliver a lesson.

I spent countless hours creating an eleven week SOW, with a word count close to 3000; however, this time was was a worthy investment; where its formation will not only benefit my logistics and planning, but will strengthen and support the learners development through a more focused and guided vision.

Moving Forward
My objective is to backtrack last terms teaching and create a post-SOW based upon what was delivered. It is hoped, that these new detailed SOW’s, will be invaluable as a basis for the 2018/19 academic year; where through feedback and reflection points they can continue to evolve.

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