Interview with the Academic Coordinator at Bridge Mills Galway Language Centre – Evan Connolly

Conducted by Elena Bongi a C1 level student at the school.

Elena: Hello, Evan. How are?

Evan: Very well thanks, Elena.

Elena: How would you describe your job?

Evan: My role in the school is oversee and coordinate all academic activities. This includes supporting and advising teaching staff, dealing with students in any area which relates to their course of study which could be General English, Teacher training, Methodology studies , Teacher Refresher courses etc. and ensuring all regulatory, administrative, and quality assurance requirements are being fully complied with.

Elena: What do you like most about the role?

Evan: The variation of tasks involved means that the role never gets tedious. Meeting people from all over the world, some booking directly , some via Erasmus + programmes, who come to study in Galway is always so interesting. Finally, giving teachers, particularly newly qualified teachers their chance to enter the industry and the workforce in general is extremely rewarding.

Elena: What are the key skills necessary, in your opinion, to do the role of Director of Studies?

Evan: Medium-long term academic/teaching experience across many different programmes and student profiles is obviously key. The ability to multi-task and deal with any operational issues in a timely manner is another cornerstone. We also work on Key Action 2 partnerships with our European partners, and this involves being on top of things and getting things done. Finally, the ability to prioritize the key academic elements such as syllabus design or reformulation of testing systems, and the more logistic aspects of the role hiring staff, rostering and timetabling etc., at the correct time and in appropriate manner is an attribute which I feel any DOS must constantly hone.

Elena: Tell us about a typical day.

Evan: Well, as I mentioned previously, every day is different. However, there are certain key daily tasks, such as ensuring that all the teaching team know their plan for the day/week in question, having a window open to meet students and teacher trainees, and to assist with any queries or issues they may have, and keeping a close eye on what is happening in the next week or two at the school in terms of students arriving/departing, teachers who may be holidays/who may need a substitute etc. and any specialist courses that may be on the horizon. Other daily tasks range from testing students to doing Continuing Professional Development with teachers. But there is always time for a nice coffee and a scone too

Elena: Thank you so much for your time, Evan.

Evan: My pleasure, Elena.