Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reflections: The Different "Asian" Teacher Personalities.

Even in working with other teachers of asian descent in childcare centres, I have met a wide range of teacher personalities.

With regard to those from Singapore and Malaysia, versus China, Japan, and South Korea. I have realised that the teachers possess different needs based on two factors, mainly the language needs and temperament factor

Language/ Communication Need
The first difference is the language/ communication need. I have observed from my time in different centres that for where teachers whose English is not spoken as the first language, or much at all, they are not so 'pedantic' about the application of textbook manual instruction verbatim.

The study of early childhood pedagogy in the english language is no mean task, and requires certain fluency to handle the teaching instruction.

Further compounded also by the differences in culture, it will take a while for a teacher to get acquainted and used to a foreign classroom, before being able to prepare a contextually appropriate classroom programme.

A teacher's temperament also comes into play, in how teachers view their teaching instruction.

The Temperament Factor
Have you heard of the Humors, the four different temperament types namely, Choleric, Phlegmatic, Melancholic, Sanguine?

There were teachers I were able to get along due to their easygoing personality (sanguine choleric temperament), but there were some who were just downright testy to get along with (choleric melancholic temperament).

When I say downright testy, this means that they really need to pass a comment on about almost every single .. almost as if they require perfection, when it is not necessary.

I really do work better with a Sanguine Choleric.

Recently I've had to work with a teacher (who I supposed could be of Choleric Melancholic temperament ) who could not resist giving her perspective on every single thing that I did.

It was okay getting along with her, but having had to listen almost every hour of the day on her feedback was a bit too much to bear...! Oh dear. Perhaps her centre really urgently required a staff to come in, hence the urgency in all that.

I am relieved that the centre managed to find someone to come in.. in all things regard, for teachers of this personality type, it is better to be friends than workmates.. else I'll never hear the end of it!

Agent E strikes again!

So today my agent called me. At 10am!

Why did I wake up so late? Coz I was not supposed to be working today, and hence I slept late last night. 

The first thing the consultant said was 'are you aware that you were supposed to be at xx centre 8.30am this morning?'

Well, Ms.Smartie Pants, I refuse to be non-plussed by your agency. I don't care if you are paying my wages, but that is not how you should treat your candidates!

Let me state the reasons for these..

1. I was not informed that I was supposed to go in. I normally receive a formal text message from the agent.

I was a bit surprised to hear that as I was definitely not informed to go into to any particular centre .. not to mention the fact that the agent is not going to cover my transportation fees EVER if the centre cancels my shifts!At least this is my past experience with this this particular Agent E in the last two months!

2. When I arrived at the centre, I was informed by the group leader that they only only confirmed the decision to bring in a casual today. So what was the whole hissy fit about, excuse me??

So, don't try to put a fast one on me, thank you very much!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Demonstrating Initiative as a Casual Staff.

So last week, I completed two days at a childcare centre near Ashfield.

The group leader, YL is a singaporean chinese who married an Anglo Australian, with three children.

To provide some background info about this lady, she is in her mid 50, but doesn't look it. She has three children, and has been in travelling and married for 20 over years with her husband. She was personally working as a manager in Quality Control in Singapore until she moved over to Australia.

Among some of the feedback that she provided for aspiring staff who would like to look for more permanent work at centre when on casual assignments include:

1. Initiative- 
Casual staff need to take and demonstrate take more initiative in the classrooms- According to YL, it was the little things that counts, that make or break the chances of securing a job offer from the Management. 

2. Need to demonstrate flexibility.
As in when casual staff have been instructed to perform a duty and a parent comes in to speak to them, they should leave whichever work they are doing and instead attend to the children. I.e take over group time, or whatever duties that could keep the children's attention and keep them away from trouble!

Taking care of the children are more important during these times! This is more essential and important in centres that are not able to employ above the child adult ratio, or have limited funding for employment of staff to come in for ratio purposes. Yes, this happens in countries with strict child adult ratios in the classrooms.

3. Use more 'teaching language'. 
- Perhaps that this teacher possess a more thorough personality (as per her previous work as a manager in Quality Control!). Hence, she was particularly insistent on this in her teaching methodology.

Although I do believe it'd be good to use 'teaching language" if not just to keep the children's attention and keep them thinking, but also to demonstrate one's skills as a trained staff. I do agree that it is important to be trained in the arts of "teaching language" but more important is when to use it, and not to over do it.

In summary, a teaching qualification is important.

But the above aspects are just as important when one is out looking for more permanent work. If not important, are ESSENTIAL!

Sadly, these sort of things are not taught in the textbooks, but rather, are picked up along the way as one goes to work, and hopefully, well.. they learn!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rebound from winter flu!

So today, I called my employer (Agency E) that I was ready to return to work... after my long extended winter illness.

Actually I had already emailed them, but I wasn't sure if they had already received my note, so a call was much more reassuring.

I am not really sure how many casual assignments are available in winter, but I do know that many people do catch the flu in winter.

Among the good news is that Agency E had officially sent a note to all their Early Childhood Teachers pay rate will be standardised to the normal Early Childhood Teacher industry rate! All four and three year trained teachers will be paid the same rates regardless of the number of years they have worked.

In a way it is good for all the Early Childhood Teachers, but from the view of work availability, it could mean less work, since it means that the fees for centres would have gone up, if it had not already.

Perhaps companies initially lower their fees, and having established a relationship, they decide to revert to industry rate?

I guess it now depends on the childcare centres whether they would like to continue this "relationship" with their staffing agencies, with all things being now.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hit by Flu.

Yeah, I am sick. Been down with the symptoms of the flu for the past three weeks, but it only seriously hit me on Friday last week.

Right after I completed one of my assignments. Been bed-ridden since Monday.. not a good thing.

Winter and flu. Comes together like horse and carriage. Hmmm.

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