Back to school / The reach and impact of Twitter and Blogging

First day at new school is comingAs a number of my regular readers and Twitter contacts already know I’ve started a new lecturing job at a University in Australia. Having taken the last 3 weeks or so to get familiar with new surroundings, work out how things are done in my new workplace, and prepare for my teaching responsibilities, tomorrow is the first day of the new teaching semester. For anyone back in the UK this is going to sound a bit weird as they are now firmly in the middle of summer vacation. But yes, in Australia the teaching semesters are ‘the wrong way around’ – so I’ve started in July ready to begin teaching for the second semester (i.e. in the middle of the calendar AND academic years). So this is all very exciting and of course a little nerve-racking given that this is my first full-time teaching position. In addition to the lecturing, I will also be picking up some clinical education responsibilities as the semester progresses, which at this moment in time is probably my stronger area simply because this is where the bulk of my teaching experience lies.

Anyhow, since starting in this position I’ve really found myself having to go back to basics and it essentially feels like I’m back studying again. I vaguely remember at least one person some time telling me (or me overhearing it) that “you never really know anything well until you teach it” and surprise surprise it seems that this has some truth to it. I’m probably finding myself doing more reading now than I ever did when I was a student (which I do realise could be a reflection of my habits as a student). It seems to be one thing knowing something just because you’ve been taught it before or you remember reading it somewhere but then it seems to be another thing to know quite why you know something and then to clearly portray this, whether it be in dreaded Powerpoint presentations or orally. And the thing is, I’m not even coming in and teaching from scratch as I’ve got the previous years’ resources to work with and adapt. So basically – I’ve gained huge respect for those who do this kind of thing on a recurring basis (i.e. completely put together coarse subjects etc). Naturally, I’m sure this does get slightly easier as you gain experience but as I’ve found out, not all Universities use the same methods so its unlikely that you can directly copy and paste course content from one institution to another (not that I’ve been trying :-s)

 

And the second thing I want to quickly mention in this rather random post is the influence of Twitter (and no doubt blogging) as I’ve recently had a fairly surreal experience.

 

I happened to arrive at my new position just as a number of my new colleagues were going away to the Speech Pathology Australia national conference. On returning from the conference and also in email exchanges (before I’d even met my colleague face-to-face) I was told variations along the lines of ‘met some people here who are familiar with you/your work and asked me to pass on their regards’ to which my reaction was a fairly smug ‘oh I imagine that might have been X or Y then’ as these were people who I had previously met at conferences. Then as it turned out these people were not people I had ever actually met but who I had been in contact with via Twitter. I was a little bit taken aback by this as although I consider myself an active user of Twitter, I would;t consider myself a heavy-user. So take from this what you will – I think what I take from it is that I have yet to fully appreciate the possibilities of things like Twitter and other social media. It definitely seems to have an impact factor. I imagine that none of this comes as a surprise to those who I know who really put more of a concerted effort into regularly Tweeting and blogging than I do, but it was a bit of a wake-up call that made me think of further possibilities.

Advertisements

About chrissp1980
Currently a lecturer in speech pathology in North Queensland, Australia. I'm lecturing in acquired disorders of speech and language and also attempting to enthuse students in conducting clinically-relevant projects using principles of Evidence-Based Practice. Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: