This year I’ve been involved in the Tasmanian Leaders Program (or TLP) which is a year-long program of workshops, seminars and retreats for 24 aspiring leaders across Tasmania. The other 23 participants come from not-for-profit organisations, local government, PR firms, and engineering and mining companies. I’m the only educator. And that’s one of the excellent things about being involved. I get to talk to other people who are in vastly different workplaces to me, doing vastly different kinds of work. Each month we get together for two days of intensive workshops (called Linking Sessions). Three times across the course of the year we get together for 3-day residentials which are even more intense. In groups of six we have to organise one day of a monthly Linking Session. Planning is essential. We have 16 invited speakers coming to our Linking Session (on Sustainability) – we have to devise the day, decide who we want to speak, put the program together, organise the venue and catering and reading materials. It requires a lot of planning.
As part of my role as Director of Student Engagement, in the Faculty of Education at UTAS I have put together a monthly Education Conversation, which started two years ago as the staff in Education at the Cradle Coast campus sharing their research and teaching interests with each other, but has grown to become much bigger. At the last Conversation, in August, we had a panel of four invited speakers, and an audience of just over 50. It takes a lot of planning.
This year I have run nine Orientations sessions, and the same number of Engagement Days, in Tasmania and in Melbourne and Adelaide. They take a lot of planning. (Luckily I have Melissa Reyenga to help me with it!)
This year I am also the facilitator of the Teacher Education Teaching and Research Group in the Faculty of Education. We meet for an hour each month by video conference on three different campuses. We’ve also had a planning day. These meetings, and the planning day, take a lot of planning.
In addition, I was successful earlier this year, in a funding application and so am also the facilitator of the Student Engagement Community of Practice. We have staff from each of the three campuses coming together on a monthly basis for three hours, as well as staff from another Faculty. These monthly three-hour conversations take a lot of planning.
As if that isn’t enough, I am also unit coordinator for a core first year unit in the B.Ed (Primary), B.Ed (Early Childhood), B.Ed (Specialisations), and M.Teach (Primary) & M.Teach (Secondary) courses. That means I am coordinating a unit which has ten tutors and approximately 768 students. It is taught on all three Tasmanian campuses, as well as fully online to students studying in Tasmania, in all states on the mainland, and in many parts of the world. It takes a lot of planning.
In second semester I am the unit coordinator of an elective unit in the B.Ed (Primary). The unit is also open to other students across the University. It is a fully online unit, and again the 112 students are spread far and wide. I have two tutors teaching the unit, one of whom is in Victoria, and the other is in Launceston. I, of course, am in Burnie. More planning.
In one of the first residentials this year for TLP we did a Myers Briggs Type Indicator. It’s a way of assisting people better understand their preferences for particular things, like taking in information, and structuring that information in particular ways. (I’m not endorsing anything here, just letting you know that we did it).
When my result came in, it didn’t surprise me to find that I prefer to draw energy from my own internal world of ideas, emotions and impressions, rather from people and activities: according to MBTI I am an introvert rather than an extravert. It also didn’t really surprise me to find that I have a preference for living a spontaneous and flexible life, rather than a planned and organised life. According to MBTI I am ‘perceiving‘ rather than ‘judging’.
Which means that my preference is to not plan. One of the questions I’ve most disliked in my life is: “what do you plan to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?”. It’s not a question I can answer with anything more than a shrug and a “don’t know”. I could never (still can’t) make any sense of a diagram like this:
My ‘career’ such as it is, was in no ways planned. It just happened. Yes, I made decisions at various points along the way, but I didn’t have (don’t have) a 5 or 10 year plan.
Imagine my surprise then that a) I have to do so much planning in my professional life and b) I’ve decided to take two weeks off and go to Franceand Italy (and then through Austria into Germany) and I have it all planned out.
The trip is planned to within an inch of its life. I know where I’m staying, I’ve booked each train trip, I’ve even booked tours (well, one tour, but I’m about to book another one). I am fighting against myself with all this planning, but I’m rationalising it by reminding myself that I have two weeks to do all that I want to do and to be able to do it all and not have to worry about working out where and when to catch a train I’ll have it booked. That way I can enjoy myself by having less anxiety.
The rationalisation is working for me so far … but I want to go to Europe again next year for longer than two weeks – and with Tim rather than by myself as I’m doing this time – and I’m determined to wander and be spontaneous.
Except Tim’s a planner, so how will he cope?
That gives me something to ponder while I search for photography tours of Venice!