It has been an unusual week for us – and we’ve been getting the days mixed up since – with the closure of the school on Monday on account of typhoon Mitag and the exceptional opening of the school tomorrow for all staff (it’s usually only open on Saturdays for Terminale and 1ère students, practising for the Bac exams under the supervision of Javier, from the Vie Scolaire office, who I would like to thank here for having taken on that job because, let’s put it frankly, there wasn’t exactly a long list of volunteers to do it!)

So why are our staff coming in on a Saturday without students? It will be an opportunity for us to make headway on the 1,001 tasks that our regular timetables don’t allow for: meetings for example between our primary and secondary teachers, which are essential, but are usually hampered by the distance between our two campuses.

We’ll be looking at the technical aspects of our teaching, working, for example on “benchmarks of student progress” (checking that students work on certain aspects of the curricula at the most opportune moments and ensuring that the knowledge that students acquire at these moments can be expanded and built on throughout the relevant cycle of learning) and similar educational jargon. We will attend a presentation by a Math teacher trainer visiting us from Japan, and we will get his input and insight into those areas. We’ll do some simple, straightforward tasks that we never find the time for, like recording audiobooks for our younger students, who haven’t learnt to read yet, but who can’t get enough of stories!

As for secondary staff, we will discuss the new style class councils that we are planning to put in place, we will also take the time to define career and professional development (CPD) needs and consider the most effective formats for meeting those needs. To date, the prominent and preeminent model is one where we send colleagues to AEFE CPD seminars and conferences, however we could probably use our time and our money more effectively if we pinpoint specific training sessions that address our own particular issues and needs.

CPD is highly important for our staff and this year’s ambitious CPD calendar is already up and running. We have received back-to-back visits from math, science and physics teacher trainers, whose focus has been to work with our teachers on the reform of the high school (lycée) curricula. This year, we have set aside 1 million ntd for CPD for our staff, and it will take many forms: Chinese classes, qualification courses, subject-led courses… I would like to thank the members of the French Section CPD council  who reviewed our staff’s requests for CPD grants last month and did their utmost to approve all requests that were in keeping with the school’s priorities.

To return to our working Saturday tomorrow, there shouldn’t be time for anyone to get bored, even if the very ones we will be doing it for are not there – we will be thinking of our students all day long and they will be at the very centre of all of our conversations.

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