The Wuxi team met at Wuang zhuang Experimental Primary school on March 23, 2018 for their monthly meeting.
Apart from regular matters discussed at every meeting, such as peer-to-peer observations and social media contributions, the teachers talked about the JESIE video contest held every year. Teachers who wish to participate need to submit a short video about their life in China. The winners will be awarded with a certificate and a substantial cash prize.
During our themed session, Sam gave an interesting talk about how to give and receive feedback. She brought up important points to remember when giving feedback: focus on the facts and avoid being subjective; be specific in order to avoid confusion and uncertainty; and give suggestions.
When accepting feedback, it is important not to take it personal, to analyze and make the necessary changes to develop as a teacher.
The meeting ended with questions from our new teachers, Will and Jennifer. One very interesting question was raised about how to deal with hugs from students. Some teachers feel comfortable with hugs, others don't. The team concluded that there is no general rule and a teacher should just do what makes them feel more comfortable.
Other questions mostly dealt with aspects of teaching and other practical information related to life in China in general.
The fourth staff meeting of the school year started off well as people got back into the swing of things after the break. We met at 2:15, with teachers enjoying the lovely, summery weather currently settled on Nanjing. What a change from the blizzardy conditions the last staff meeting encountered!
Because everyone wanted to wrap up our first staff meeting of the term in a timely manner, we briskly moved through the agenda topics. Ping, Grace and Val did some house-keeping regarding the leave procedures, changes in the delivery of our payslips, and changes in how JESIE needs to handle our Chinese personal tax (also known as income tax). Our newest teacher, Megan Gardner from misty Wales, was introduced to everyone. People mentioned a bit about how their school situations were, Val reminded everyone to send their peer observation reports to both the teacher who was observed and Val, and then we moved on to the major parts of the meeting.
The main points of the meeting were the usual reminder and addendum for social media projects such as archive resources from teachers, Open Day reports, and articles from our freshmen teachers. Val also explained the JESIE Short Film Contest in more detail – this year, the contest is optional (money prizes anyone?), but potential contestants need to register with Val by April 9th. Matt moved everyone onto the next stage of the newest Open Day theme and resource development explaining the latest Open Day Guidelines and Contributions for the 2018/2019 school year. We scrambled for our preferred themes and grades, with some tense moments as people jockeyed for position and even engaged in Rock-Paper-Scissors battles.
We then moved on to the Teacher Talk Session for this staff meeting: "Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback". The three speakers were William, Tony and Kathleen. William spoke a bit about his experience as a JESIE teacher. Tony continued with reasons why teachers do observations, and how feedback from observations can benefit people, drawing on his experience as someone who had taken the CELTA and has completed two of the three modules for his DELTA. Kathleen wrapped everything up by examining why we do peer observations, how they help our staff, and what to look for when doing a peer observation. We then hustled out to enjoy the gorgeous weather!