In-service training: It’s not just for teachers - Shawlands Academy
Shawlands Academy in Glasgow has always had a strong commitment to international education which was taken a step further when they sent their senior Janitor, Peter McGeown to the Czech Republic.
For a number of years the academy and Obchodni Akademie, Teplice, Czech Republic have been developing closer ties with the schools taking part in both Comenius School Partnerships and eTwinning initiatives.
As Peter had been an integral part of many of the projects Shawlands Academy participated in, he was intrigued to see the impact of his work in a partner school.
'I hoped to learn from the day to day running of the school there,’ says Peter, ‘and offer the benefits of my experience in return'.
Peter successfully applied for a Comenius In-Service Training grant which allowed him to job-shadow Zdenek Rezek, his counterpart at Obchodni Akademie.
During the seven days Peter spent working at Obchodni Akademie, he helped clean the school mural, service the boilers and worked with staff to carry out essential maintenance work.
The visit was not all work, and although a sombre and reflective experience, Peter took the opportunity to visit Terezin, a former concentration camp.
However, it was working with the janitor in Zdenek Rezek that had the most impact.
‘He and I became very good friends,’ said Peter. ‘Our jobs are not all that different but I did learn a lot from him, as a person and a janitor’.
‘The trip gave me a greater understanding of the issues and challenges that other non-teaching staff experience. I found out more about the supportive nature of the janitor’s role in assisting with developing Comenius projects. I think it allowed us to work together to enhance the international partnership between the schools that wasn’t just restricted to the teaching staff'.