12 February 2015

New semester, new daft teaching responsibilities

Teaching responsibilities are like cockroaches; if you see one, you have good reason to assume there's more, and they can suddenly appear any time. I knew I had to teach a few more lectures in the new year (three lectures, but I will spread them out over five hours; there's a lot of information in them), and I knew I had to teach on some field excursions, both for the same module. And I knew I had to assist with some hydrology practical. That's not my field of expertise at all! I had the other person teaching that send me the material, and I just went and did the practical myself. Not hard, but a fair amount of work. Was that it? No!

A sketch of some of the catchment of nearby river Ogwen, which features in the practical

Out of nowhere popped up the third year dissertation; I have one student I have to try to keep pointed in the right direction. And there is the second year module "communicating science" for which I have to get eight students ready to write an essay, and present their work to the whole group. And then, only a few days in advance, I noticed some practical on general geology stuff I had to teach on. Oh dear!

I did have one spell of really knowing why I'm doing this; I had an email from a student who wanted to know what was so wrong with his field trip report. Mind you, he had a good grade for it, but he is one of the best students; the report had not fetched him an A, and he wanted to raise himself up to A level overall. Excellent! Someone who does something with my feedback! When you're putting all these hours in, marking and giving feedback, you just know many students just take notice of the mark and ignore the rest. It's good to see at least someone is actually paying heed!

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