Sunday, September 30, 2007

What is a Head Teacher?

I'm still asking myself this one month after officially becoming one!

Wikipedia describes a Head Teacher as, "the most senior teacher in a school in the United Kingdom...While some head teachers still retain some teaching responsibility, other than in very small schools, most of their duties are managerial and pastoral."
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Pastoral?! Well, here we come to a difference between US and British usage. In British English pastoral refers to the the part of the work of clergy and teachers that involves giving help and advice about personal matters, whereas in US English this word is associated only with work done by clergy.
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Well, my head teacher work doesn't involve pastoral duties, but it may lead me to personally seek the assistance of someone whose work does! To say it has been challenging is putting it mildly.
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I am sure the work of a head teacher can vary greatly from school to school. At the school I work for it involves being an administrator, coordinator, supervisor, supporter, mentor, advocate, negotiator, organizer and trainer as well as an EFL teacher.
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Yes, I have "retained" my teaching responsibilities -- AND HOW! I was originally told that the job would be mostly teaching and a couple of hours administrative work a week. So far it has been mostly teaching and mostly administrative work. I have put in around 10 to 20 administrative hours each week -- and this does not include the time spent on "language audits" that I have continued to do for the school on the side!
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In all fairness, this is a new position for a growing language school, which makes predicting the work load a challenge; September / October is the beginning of the school year, a time which typically involves a lot of extra work; the Director of Studies, who is responsible for all of Spain, is located in Madrid, not in Barcelona, which requires a lot of telephone and emailing time (for both of us); and the Director of Studies has been on a well deserved vacation for the past couple of weeks. In addition, as with any new job there is a learning curve that can seem overwhelming at times. Therefore, I am hopeful that things will settle down as the school and I learn to develop and adapt to this new position.
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¡Ojalá!
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Carloz
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P.S. Any advice would be appreciated! Prayers, too!!

3 comments:

Miguel said...

I’m teaching at Mississippi State University right now, but hope to one day make my way to Spain for an extended period of time. I visited there once in 2004 and need to start planning my strategy. Do you know of any American Universities in Barcelona?

Carloz said...

Sorry, I don't. In fact, I am not sure there are any. I'd bet the U.S. Consulate would know. Their email address is: consularbarcel@state.gov. Good luck.

Carloz said...

Also, here is a web site that lists universities in Spain. It's very long and lists mostly Spanish institutions, as opposed to foreign ones.

http://www.spainexchange.com/study_spain/universities_in_spain.php?BRSR=0&pais=&paisid=&language=en&base_language=§ion=us&province=&subject=&name_subject=