Philosophy of EFL management
- a personal view
by Piotr Jednaszewski
The step from teaching to managing has usually been made without any formal training, sometimes even more rapidly than expected by the teacher himself and often because a teacher was good at the job he was doing, that is, at teaching. The first management steps often lead into taking on recognizably academic areas of responsibility such as monitoring students recruitment, placement testing, examination co-ordination, resources management, and so on. Teachers who are willing to take on these extra tasks tend to be key figures among staff, usually more active, open, wise and perceiving the language institution and himself as one united system. Some of them may also be involved in giving conference presentations, TT sessions, present the company in Educational fairs and conduct classroom observation. Those teachers gradually develop their managerial skills through the practical experience obtained in time. These teachers are much more than the others aware of such management issues as language institution policy, teaching programme development and implementing changes, overall quality assurance, necessity of staff training and criteria for taking new teachers on board. These teachers already have the intrinsic drive for change and development through associating their personal involvement with the language institution development.
The gradual movement from teaching into management is a result of increased readiness and willingness to recognize and accept the consequences of responsibility as a manager. This acceptance entails developing a greater awareness of systems and knowledge of managing them, and with a little courage, adapting them and even creating new ones. The ability to exploit systems is a reflection of the facility to analyse the skills required to fulfil the type of responsibility taken on. The typically strong interpersonal skills brought from the classroom in many cases need to be complemented by more analytical skills.
Teachers entering management may also need time to assimilate and become aware of the underlying company structure, roles and functions that support the classroom activity in a language institution. It might be surprising for new manager-teachers that the management activities are also external and the teacher – classroom picture is a part of a greater but united system. The qualities of the language institution manager should then be well balanced and developed, since otherwise the system would become unstable and it may basically lead to different type of loses. This is not to say that general managers need to be like an accountant or a marketing expert as none of his teacher colleagues would agree with it. They need to know the relevance of different teaching and managerial areas and be able to address them with the experts they employ or ask for support and to deal with them with the open heart. And again the understanding of the relevance of areas, their coherence and comprehensiveness starts from the individual intrinsic drive to ameliorate the system which can be closely linked with the transformation awareness which is clearly the balance between the mind and the heart.
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