24 October 2012

The Academic Maelstrom

Some very patient admin people at uni are chasing me for 'course monitoring forms'. These are reports where we sum up our teaching from last year in 1 page - student feedback, our reflections, and plans for change.  A great idea, right?  Well, yes. If you actually find time to collect the data (note to self: look for forms in pile on desk), reflect on it, and remember which course is which.

But instead, I'm standing at the sink, washing dishes, with a feverish toddler running about at my feet, trying to decide what other overdue item to drop down the priority list, so that I can get these admin folk off my back.  

I ought to be replying to panicked student emails about dissertations, or sending (late) requests to the library to scan chapters for next semester's courses, or chasing things for students for whom I am a 'personal tutor', or planning the dissertation workshops for tomorrow, or reading PhD student chapters (5 waiting at last count), or writing letters of reference for former students, or reading UG dissertation proposals, or writing book reviews (CJAS and African Affairs - I've not forgotten, honest), or trying to get lecture notes up on Learn, or that article I promised a journal on OA, or the two book chapters I rashly agreed to write, or revising the consultancy report..... 

And that's just my 'must do' list of things that are already overdue, and doesn't even begin to get near the stack of books I want to read, the funding calls to peruse and pursue, the academic blogs to read (where *do* people find time to write them?), planning teaching for next year.....

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