COETAIL….What has it done for you lately?
Course 5 – Blog Post 3
Busy, Busy, Busy
It is such a busy time, not just for me. It seems everyone I speak to these days is just barely keeping their head above water. It kind of reminds me of that meme with the dog sitting in his house as it burns and saying “it’s fine”. But well and truly, it is fine. I honestly don’t mind being busy. Perhaps one day I could look back and wish I had worked less, but for now, having a lot to do gives me a sense of purpose, and helps to keep me sane.
Three weeks ago, my city moved to online learning during an outbreak of Covid-19. It was not nearly as bad as most places around the world, but this is China and any Covid is too much Covid. As case numbers increased more restrictions rolled in, keeping us more and more at home. It felt eerily like I was back in March of 2020, instead of March of 2022. While I luckily never ended up in a full lockdown, suddenly I had loads more time at home. Instead of feeling stuck, I was mostly fine because I had a lot of work to do!
Graduate classes, PDs, Certificates, and Mentoring, Oh My!
In this past month, I found myself up to my waist in online teaching, but then up to my eyebrows in all of my additional commitments. At one point, I was working on COETAIL, completing a month-long IB training, serving as a mentor teacher for my co-teacher who is completing her student teaching course, and working on my first course for my master’s degree. You might ask; how does someone working a full-time job end up with so many other commitments? I blame COETAIL.
Back in October of 2020, I had decided to leave Dubai after more than a decade as a teacher there. During my time in the UAE, I had only ever gotten jobs through friends or by word of mouth.
I had never even attended an international job fair. Suddenly, looking for a new job in a new country, I felt very far behind in my professional development. So many teachers at the fairs had advanced degrees, additional training, and professional certificates. I had almost none of that. I hadn’t needed a graduate degree because my undergrad was in education. Sure I took PD courses if my school had offered them, but I hadn’t really done much on my own. I just assumed that each year I taught was giving me more experience, which would be enough. Then comparing myself to other teachers, I felt lacking.
After discussing these feelings with a close friend, he recommended COETAIL. He had earned his master’s degree but has also done COETAIL. He said that it was his work with the latter that had been most impactful on the teaching and learning in his classroom.
COETAIL seemed like a great way to wade back into the realm of being a student again. The workload appeared manageable and the schedule for courses was spaced out so I would have breaks between them. And in all honesty, while I wanted to get my graduate degree, I was scared to try. It had been fifteen years since I had been a student. What if I couldn’t do it? I would need to continue teaching while also trying to be a student and although I had worked while in university, it was a silly retail job. I really didn’t know if I would be able to do it all.
Fast-forward sixteen months, and thanks to COETAIL I have so much more confidence in myself. It wasn’t always easy to do the coursework and teach, but it was never unmanageable. The work I did throughout the courses also inspired me to learn more. Suddenly, I wanted to keep learning and building my resume. I sometimes can’t seem to help myself, I am so thirsty for more professional knowledge.
I was already working on my last course here and taking online training for IB when I finally found a graduate program that seemed like the best fit for me. It had a cohort starting in February and I didn’t want to wait any longer, so I dove in! The first course was hard and more work than COETAIL, but the skills I learned here really helped me. Thanks to the weekly blogs, I have gotten back into a writing habit, so the written assignments were not too scary. Additionally, the feedback requirement for COETAIL trained me to be much better with discussion boards than a lot of my classmates. When I reply to my classmates’ discussion posts I take the time to make connections and add more. Whereas many of the replies I get are more along the lines of “good work”.
All in all, I really have COETAIL to thank (or blame) for getting me back into learning and growing professionally. Even if sometimes I take on a little too much at one time.
Even More Good News!
Another bit of good news and professional development that can be credited to my work and learning in COETAIL is my new job for next year. I recently accepted an offer to take on the role of instructional coach. In the past year, I have gained so much more confidence in my teaching which led me to mentor many of the teachers in my school. This was noted by my administrative team and they asked me to take on the role in a more formal way. Due to the difficulty in getting new teachers into China at this time, I will probably remain teaching in a homeroom class as well, but I am so excited to be able to challenge myself with new responsibilities and to help other teachers grow as well.
Thank you, COETAIL!