12 July 2011


Every year I get to talk to Roland about my personal and professional development. That doesn't sound too interesting, but as a matter of fact it is. Last year we discussed what needs to be done to patch up the weak parts of my CV. We had all sorts of splendid plans, but lab work got out of hand, and not all of it happened. But this year we have another chance. And now things are moving!

One thing that is conspicuously lacking on my CV is teaching. In Amsterdam we didn't have enough students to accomodate teaching for all staff. In Norway I worked not at a university, but a research institute: we hardly had any students there. And here in the UK I am on a research only contract. But that contract allows room for personal development. In other words: I can teach in that time! And this time it will happen.

I have already been teaching individual master- and PhD students; I did my best to support Emily, and I collaborate lots with Rob, but neither of these is or was officially my student. I now have a master student: Steffie, together with Rob; she applies Rob's methods to my sediments. And all of that is highly enjoyable, and I have reasons to believe the students in question appreciate(d) it, but this is evidently the best and easiest part. All these people are very intelligent and motivated, and they do research similar to mine. Teaching slouching undergraduates who only want to glare at Facebook while you try to tell them something is the other side of the equation! But a proper academic should be able to cover that entire swath. And I should grow up to be a proper academic. So it has been agreed on I will go on some fieldwork or other with the students, and I will get a tutorial group. And in order to deal with that properly I'll enroll in a teaching course in September. Altogether that would be a bit much, so probably some of this will be moved to the next year, but things evidently are moving. Excellent, but somewhat scary too! And one way to find out where on the scale of motivation and intellect these youngsters will reside...

I think it's a bit like skiing down Kjølen. The trick is just going to the top, knowing there is only one way down. And then you'll have to learn of your feet! Bring on the students. I made my way down that tricky slope, and I trust I'll manage with students too....

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