18 March 2015

Taking the students to the beach

Earth, Climate, and Evolution. It sounds a bit like life, the universe and everything. Just that bit "Earth" alone! Imagine how long one could talk about that. And the phrase in its entirety is the title of the first year module I'm currently teaching on. You can imagine it's demanding but fun! The practicals I mentioned earlier were part of that (some of them, at least), and I've also started lecturing about it. But the module also has two field excursions; I had to come back from Liverpool to attend the first one. That one visited a beach on the east coast of Anglesey. The month before we had gone there for a recce; now it was time to do the real thing. 

I was pleased with the logistics; originally, it looked like I would have to get up rather early, get to the office, get a lift from there to the mainland, and there jump into the coach that would transport the students. This would take us to the beach then. But this bus would be pretty much be driving past my house; Suzie, who was in charge of the logistics, had figured that too, and had arranged for us to be picked up from my nearest pub. Good job!

Rain had been forecast, but it was nice weather. We got to the beach, and each of us five staff members too a share of the students. And started walking. We had been told to skip the bit of the trip where we get to the base of the cliff; the path leading to it had been eroded to near-absence and it was not deemed safe with tens of students. So we could talk from a bit of a distance. 

I was quite happy talking and pointing. And in spite of them being rather cold (students tend to not be very good at dressing for the weather) the students were rather responsive. It was fun!

We had to be rather executive about it all; we were only picked up at 9AM, and we had to be back at the bus by 11:15. That left only some 2 hrs for the whole trip! But we managed. I hope I managed to show the students how marvellous that place is, with its time warp to the Carboniferous, and its funny sandstone plugs in karst holes. I ended at the glacial till at the far end, and gave the students the choice of either going back the way we had come (which involved lots of slippery bits!) or walking back through the caravan park. They wanted more slippery rock! The heroes. 

Getting off the slippery, sea-weedy wave-cut platform at the end of the excursion

I had whole afternoon or normal work left. Good; I needed that! But it was fun to be out for a few hours. And I looked forward to lecturing this bunch; they were responsive! The very next Monday morning I would get them. For a first lecture of five. The last batch for a while!

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