I’ve just spent the last two weekends in Montevideo, Uruguay, a three hour ferry ride across the world’s widest river from my home town, Buenos Aires. They have been a hugely rewarding, fun, stimulating, knackering two weekends full of new faces, interesting ideas, invigorating enthusiasm, knowledge retrieval, developing teachers, welcoming smiles, new learning, lovely lunches, three-hour wifi-less ferry crossings, delightful dinners, unwanted 5am car alarm wake-up calls, and informative note-swapping with like-minds in different contexts. Challenge, creativity, responsibility and learning were all there in abundance. And they will continue to be there for the next four months of this blended Delta One preparation course (mostly the next two months with a lull before the mock in November and the exam itself in December). A veritable fulfillment fiesta!
I have been challenged to prepare 22 teachers of varying backgrounds, experience, knowledge and motivations to take the Delta 1 exam in December; to design a course that suits their varying needs and wants, to deliver that course in a short timeframe with only two weekend visits available for face2face sessions; to design a blended learning support system from scratch wihout incurring costs; to organise and motivate the teachers to continue with the course through to the exam. And I love it. And I’m feeling fulfilled.
I created an entire Delta One course, 12 face2face sessions and 9 weekly exam practice modules. Ok, that’s not strictly true. I adapted the face2face sessions from the face2face course we ran here in Buenos Aires 18 months ago, stripping down the super sessions created by my colleagues to 90 minute mosaics of Delta Module mayhem, attempting to introduce, remind, extend and exhume the candidates knowledge and experience of the Delta syllabus. Pretty creative stuff, nevertheless. A challenging and enjoyable jigsaw where I had to throw away half the pieces and add in a few of my own to complete the picture as best I could.
Mangling the raw material of a past paper and welding it onto an online wiki space to create the Delta One online exam practice equivalent of a Michaelangelo was an entirely different creative kettle of fish, but just as fun in its unique and unruly manner. And I loved it. And I’ve been feeling fulfilled.
I am now deeply immersed in the responsibility of giving these teachers the best possible chance to do themselves and their uncountable talents justice in the pressure cooker of a Cambridge-invigilated exam hall. I’m responsible for keeping them on track, for covering the syllabus, for supporting and facilitating and guiding and cajoling and pushing (and maybe shoving?) and relaxing and invigorating and picking up and adjusting and entertaining and…and I love it. And I’m feeling fulfilled.
And, my oh my, am I learning and learning and learning. Almost certainly learning more than my charges are. Had to learn the wiki back to front in no time. Had to learn how the charges learned and where they were at and how they’d get to be in next to no time. Had to learn how to deal with my fast-fading memory of all things organisational in I can’t quite remember how much time. Had to relearn all I’d learnt while on the Delta myself and while last doing the course all those months ago (a great gorging of gratitude to Jim (R.I.P. wherever you are, you live on within so many of us) and Dana in Prague and my colleagues here in Buenos Aires for all the knowledge I’ve acquired from you) in a matter of days. And I’ve loved it. And I’m feeling fulfilled.
But I also feel human and I know it’s only part of my work and while I’m involved in the doing and the challenge it brings and the creativity it demands and the responsibility it brings and the learning it offers I feel fulfilled. But I’m still left wanting something more. What’s wrong with us humans?