Busy, Quiet #2
January: Took the decision to no longer promote my services overtly as an organisational consultant – though I would still be open to providing ‘consultancy’ in specific circumstances which would benefit from the Integrated approach.
Commentary: Truth to tell, I hadn’t carried out a significant project in organisational consultancy in several years. While my skills and knowledge in areas like people management and Organisational LifeCycles were as highly relevant as ever, inevitably my knowledge of market tends and the latest in ‘management thinking’ were out of date. While wanting to hang onto the belief (schema) that I could provide consultancy advice in specific contexts that would benefit profoundly from my particular skill set, I realised it was time to let go of my ‘consultant identity’.
January-March: Ran a full 10-week version of Psychology Topics #3: Crime, Depression for Shipley College. Starting and finishing 2 weeks later I also ran Psychology Topics #1: Romantic Relationships, Mental Health for Rossett.
Gallery: Shipley College participants, March – click on photo to enlarge.
January-June: Supported even more tutees as the A-Level exams loomed ever closer. This included 3 Skype tutees, one of whom was living in Cyprus but sitting the English exams as she wanted to go to university in the UK.
Commentary: At the peak in mid-May I was doing 25 hours per week tuition (across 7 days) – more contact time with students than if I had been classroom teaching full-time! It was enjoyable but exhausting!
February: asked by Don Beck to be part of ‘The Official Research Centre for Spiral Dynamics’. After some considerable agonising, turned the offer down.
Commentary: On a practical level, I was just too busy: a minimum of 20 hours contact per week with A-Level tutees (plus all the preparation and marking) alongside teaching 2 ‘night school’ classes (Rossett and Shipley College) and an upswing in the therapy side of my business literally left me with no time to give to Don’s proposed new project.
Truth to tell, much as I felt indebted to this great man and his late colleague Chris Cowan for the life transforming – life-saving? – effect their 1998 workshops had on me, I had long ago lost interest in marketing Spiral Dynamics as a brand. One causal factor in me ‘jumping ship’ from the Centre for Human Emergence UK was that they had a focus on marketing ‘Spiral Dynamics’ per se – which I didn’t! Rather, I was much more interested in using the Gravesian approach as a structure and motivation for aligning many of the schools and disciplines in the behavioural sciences – Integrated SocioPsychology! I was, however, understandably flattered by Don’s invitation.
April-July: Ran Psychology Topics #4: Dreams, Personal Resilience for Shipley College. Starting one week later, I ran a slightly cut-down 9-week version of Psychology Topics #3: Depression, Crime for Rossett.
Commentary: the Shipley course was nearly full with 18 participants while the Rossett class was much smaller. Nonetheless, both classes gelled and worked really well, with many participants saying they would be back for the next Topics course in January 2018.
It’s not been entirely unknown before for learners on the adult workshop programmes to give me ‘thank you’ presents…but particularly touching at the end of this programme was the gift of 2 humorous T-shirts. (Apparently, the learners couldn’t agree between themselves on which of 2 slogans to have so they bought me a T-shirt for each slogan!)
Gallery: modelling the T-shirts, June – all photos by Caroline Rice – click on photo to enlarge
August: With 2 exceptions, all my A-Level tutees made their target grades – Bs and Cs mostly. The university access course student I was supporting achieved a distinction.
Commentary: Everyone got either their first or second choice university place and yet I was slightly unsettled by the results – with no As. Of course, none of my tutees had been given an A target and the media was full of stories of how hard the new A-Levels were and of exam boards having to lower the grade boundaries….
September: Made the decision to restrict my tuition in Psychology A-Level to just the AQA specification.
Commentary: Since their inception in 2015, I had -worked with the new Edexcel and OCR specifications at the request of just 2 tutees and 1 tutee respectively. With AQA having 80+% of the market and having so few requests for Edexcel and OCR, I decided my time and money was better spent concentrating on AQA and building up my expertise in that specification. (I had only ever tutored in the AQA specification for Sociology.)
September – November: Ran Understanding Yourself & Others: an Introduction to Psychology for Rossett.
Commentary: With 10 learners in the early sessions, this was one of the best-attended introductory courses at Rossett in several years. However, numbers had halved by the final session, mostly due to illness and inescapable work commitments. (One dropped-out participant we later discovered was an investigative journalist who had never paid his course fee and had attended at least one session on another course without paying!)
The final session sign-out was particularly moving, with one tearful learner telling the class how much the course had enabled her for tackling major issues in her life.
Gallery: Rossett participants, November – click on photo to enlarge.
September-December: Ran Understanding Yourself & Others: an Introduction to Psychology for Shipley College.
Commentary: A large group that gelled particularly well and seemed to ‘get it’ pretty much right through the course. Some of their case study presentation material at the final session was outstanding.
2 years after my last observation – graded ‘Outstanding’ – I was observed for one of the sessions and again rated ‘Outstanding’. In fact the observer was so engaged with the session she described herself as “having to stop myself from getting involved!” (Excerpts from the observer’s report are included in the Learner Perspectives pages.)
Gallery: Shipley College participants, December – click on photo to enlarge.
September-December: Worked more as a therapist than a tutor, with hardly any tutees but a corresponding increase in therapy clients.
Commentary: In complete contrast to the previous academic year, this was the slowest start since I had begun tutoring in 2007. Several people I discussed it with thought it due to the longer-term effects of the Government’s austerity programme finally working through to limit the disposable income of middle-class parents who would previously have funded private tutoring for their children. The disastrous devaluing of the £ as a result of the 2016 EU referendum and the Government’s determination to carry through Brexit will undoubtedly have contributed to this.
November: Carried out my first relationship counselling session with the couple sat in front of me
Commentary: Several times in the past it had been appropriate – or even elicited – for me to offer advice in this respect However, this time I actually had a dysfunctional couple in front of me!
Fortunately the couple were very much in love and simply needed advice on how to handle the kinds of conflicts which are inevitable in most romantic relationships.