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Best of both worlds: Estelle’s journey in a pioneering role - Jan 20

Author: e.ashman

Let it go...

January 2020

Letting go is hard, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and am very protective of my work and therefore having to let go and trust that one of my sixth formers will run this years esports tournament with minimal input from me has been terrifying!

The last three years have been a good training ground as I have gradually relinquished more control over to my students to run the tournament. The first year, I’ll be honest, I ran most of it myself. It’s not that I didn’t trust my students to run it, but it was a bit of an unknown and I wasn’t really sure how it was going to work and therefore I guess I felt safer running it myself and if something went wrong it was down to me.

The following year saw a change of game title and new obstacles. I had more of a team of students working alongside me, but I still took most of the control in running and planning the heats. It took quite a lot of work to get everything working online. Luckily, I had a very supportive IT technician who took everything in his stride and was willing to open channels to allow the game to run online. I don’t take this for granted, other schools had huge obstacles in getting their IT support team to agree to getting the game set up. Schools are odd places – you would think that teachers have the most say in how IT systems are going to work or at least what should be installed but you would be wrong. A school’s IT support team can make or break running an event like this.

Year 3 saw us run the competition using the same title. The work put in the previous year working how to get everything set up paid off and I was able to take a less central role. For the first time I appointed a Tournament Manager and let him take control while I supervised, stepping in where required. It was amazing to see him build a team of students around him and run the tournament so professionally.

Having dropped to part-time I knew this year would be different. I wasn’t going to be able to supervise the tournament in the same way as I had the previous year. My first port of call was in ensuring I had staff who were happy to supervise and I am so lucky to have amazing colleagues in our Computing department who were happy to give up their lunchtimes to keep an eye on things. Next, I had to find a student who I could trust to run things without needing too much support. Max stepped up to the challenge. With experience of Pokemon Go tournaments, not only did he have the know-how to run an esports tournament, but he was also experienced in using the Switch console. He has been fantastic as Tournament Manager, showing maturity in working with younger students while single-handedly ensuring everything is set-up and ready to go for each of the heats.

I’ll admit I was worried about how things would go without my usual level of input, but I needn’t have worried – this tournament is on course to be the best one yet.

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