One of the main reasons I started my PhD was to distract myself. It's been many years since I was first at University and this time round I want to do things a little differently. On an academic side, that means taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible.
When the opportunity to take part in a Microteaching workshop for free came up, I had to say yes. After attending an initial workshop to grasp the basics, I was sent away to design my own 15 minute microteaching lesson. The plan was to deliver this lesson to my peers and be judged on my teaching skills. No problemo! I tell kids stories, I can handle judgement.
I decided to teach everyone 'How to wing it without looking like a fool'. Yes. I am a proper grown up.
The first lesson went ok but I made a schoolgirl error by not wearing a watch. There was no clock in the room which meant things were a little more rushed than I would have liked at the end. My feedback was generally positive but I felt I'd played things too safe. I decided to use my second lesson as an opportunity to experiment.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to Lesson 2.
This time I was radical and intent on doing as little speaking as possible. I started the lesson by splitting the group into pairs and giving them a story building activity to work out together. This went down really well and provoked genuine smiles and laughter. I felt this was a good sign. It turns out everyone likes making up stories about a chicken and an egg.
I didn't get any negative feedback for this lesson. Academics have opinions on everything, so to get 100% positive comments was a great confidence boost. I did it my way and it worked. I think this proved me right to take a risk and I will continue trying to take risks in the future.
Having completed the practical workshop elements I now have to complete a written assignment. If I pass, I will gain a new qualification which grants me the right to add some fancy letters after my name. I'm fairly cynical about letters after names, as Broccoli Theology shows. However, it's a fact of life that fancy letters open doors. The microteaching workshops have been really useful and enjoyable. It's also been a great way of playing the system and getting a new qualification for free.
So long as I pass...!