As the newest member of the MaWSIG committee, I still feel I’m very much a newbie – and really enjoying it. I joined the committee in September last year, when James Styring stood down from the role of Publications Coordinator, and I joined Penny Hands and Nick Tims as part of the publications team.
It was a pretty smooth transition for me. James very patiently showed me the ropes (and there are quite a few!), Penny, Nick, Alex and everyone else welcomed me and steered me in the right direction when necessary. I really had no idea about how the SIGs worked beforehand – I’d just taken them for granted. And, to be honest, I’d never actually stopped to think about it, or to appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes.
I have to say, I was impressed by the behind-the-scenes organisation of MaWSIG. It hinges mainly on two platforms: our ongoing conversations on Basecamp, where the various areas covered by the SIG are categorised into separate projects, and where everyone chips in with updates, queries, encouragement and inspiration; and our regular committee meetings on Skype. These are held either weekly, or bi-weekly, depending on the time of year and how much there is to discuss. The meetings are ably chaired by Alex, our SIG Coordinator, and are very friendly and businesslike. I’ve learned so much in these meetings about the running of the SIGs in general and about all the work being carried out by the teams of committed volunteers.
Within the committee, we all have our own areas of responsibility. The publications team has a clear remit. We’re responsible for writing the monthly email, which we send out to members via Head Office, supplying the MaWSIG section of the monthly IATEFL SIG ebulletin (coordinated by Head Office) curating the MaWSIG blog, and putting together the annual MaWSIG ebook.
Penny Hands and I work on the first two together and coordinate with Alex and the rest of the committee to make sure we’re covering all the news that needs to be covered. For the blog we also work with Nick Tims, the website coordinator. Ideas and inspiration for blog posts come from everyone, both inside and outside the committee, and we’re always happy to receive any offers or suggestions. I usually field the original post and then hand it on to Penny so she can cast her keen editorial eye over it. It may go back and forth a little until we’re ready to share it with Nick, who then uploads it onto the website. Again, there will be a proofreading stage, the inevitable tweaks and adjustments, and then the blog goes live.
My next challenge, which I’m about to launch into, involves compiling the text for the annual MaWSIG ebook. I’m not quite sure exactly what that entails yet, but from my experience working with MaWSIG so far, I know there will be procedures already in place which will make it a smooth and easy process.
Ceri Jones is a writer and teacher trainer based in the south of Spain. She started writing materials for publication in 1994, when she was working in Italy. She has mainly written materials for adult and secondary general English courses, as well as supplementary grammar and extensive reading materials.