15 February 2017

Tutees for the first time

These days, pastoral care is important in universities. Back in my days (I like being an old fart) we didn't have personal tutors, but now all students do, and they see them regularly. Tutors are not only for pastoral care; they are also for general skills, such as scientific writing, and oral presentation skills. I think that's nice; you don't go to university just to acquire specialist knowledge. And for the tutors it's nice too; this way you at least get to know some of your students. I find it a bit of a pity that if you lecture to a whole room many times, you do share a lot of time, but in the end you still don't know their names. Of your tutees, you do!

I will probably spend most of my time on the general skills: the tutor overlord has ruled that in the second term, the students have to write an abstract and an essay, and do an oral presentation. I only have to have five meetings with them (I have scheduled six) and that means I'll have my hands full explaining what I want from them, and giving them feedback on what they've done. The first meeting I have to tell them to write an abstract; my first job was to decide what to make them write an abstract about. Sometimes it's that sort of decisions that give you headaches: shoudl I let them choose themselves? Should I set a topic? But about half of them are marine biologists; I am not very familiar with that field. What to do? In the end I let me be inspired by the essays they had written the previous semester (I could access these through the university website). They'll all get an article with the abstract edited off. We'll see how that goes!

In addition to all that, I might have to sometimes see them one on one if there are issues. And there are likely to be issues arising. It's a completely different thing from 'normal' teaching! I do look forward to getting started. Watch this space for when it kicks off!

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