Thursday, 12 February 2009

Never volunteer!

A few months ago an email went round asking for volunteers to work on a college magazine - a magazine that would represent the students' and the college's achievements to the wider community.

I volunteered because I have some editorial skills and experience, and because I think a magazine would be a jolly good thing.

There is no funding for this, and an earlier pilot was produced by someone whose job was student development and promoting the college... and it didn't come off.

They got as far as a pilot is all.

Naturally, with no funding, everything has to depend on selling space to advertisers, but my boss said - I quote - that I "would never have to worry about dealing with sponsors" -

Well, we busted several guts, but mainly mine, to get an issue together and over to the printer for the pilot.

And guess what?

The funding from sponsors is not enough for what the printers are asking, the sponsors can't get their ads together, the boss wants publication brought forward to coincide with some random visiting bigwig... and somehow this is up to me to sort out, in my spare time (hah!) from teaching, marking, team leading, assessing and keeping up-to-date in the world of EFL.

Now, I do have editorial and writing skills, but I have no skill, and almost certainly no ability, to conduct financial negotiations or sell advertising space!

I'm an English teacher - you might as well ask the cat to do it.

The lesson, surely, is that when an employer says to you "you will never have to worry about X" you should start worrying about it immediately.

One of the reasons I like working where I do is that there are lots of opportunities to participate in the life of the college outside the classroom, and there are lots of ways you can enhance students' experience.

Should I just swear off this volunteering business?

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