21 March 2017

Lovely morning in the field

It can be trying to be the module leader on a module that involves all kinds of activities, especially if they involve other people and off-campus places. If you're the dean, you might get distracted from  such matters. Our dean is module leader on the module I have been teaching on most years since I came here; it involves a practical and two field trips too. He asked me a few days if I was available for the practical. He also asked me if I knew anyone who could help with our annual trip to Cwm Idwal; he was short on staff. I subtly told him he hadn't actually asked me if I would be on that trip myself and that I wasn't registered to join. Oh well.

That day I got up and realised it was gorgeous weather. Great! I biked to the mainland where the students would be picked up by buses. I joined my colleague Lynda and got onto a bus. At the start of the trip we would meet Colin, the module leader (and dean).

He hadn't joked he was short on staff. We had 79 students and three members of teaching staff! We had two technicians with us to act as first aiders, so it could be worse, but still, each of us trip leaders had more than twenty students. That was quite a different kettle of fish compared to the five I had had the previous time...

I peeled of with my share of students and brought them to a hillock with an amazing view. From there you look into Cwm Idwal itself, and Nant Ffrancon, and Dyffryn Ogwen. I did a lot of the talking there; about the geology, the history of science performed here, and some of the glaciology.

I made sure I did all the talking (also about soils, botany, and a bit more about glaciology) on the sunny side of the valley. I wasn't wearing a coat, but I was wearing sunglasses! Lovely! And with the weather being like that the students were in a lovely mood as well. A good day!

I got back at the buses with only a few minutes to spare. The other two groups were late. Typical! But we loaded the students up again and set off, arriving back in Bangor just in time. Next week we'll do the beach trip again! Chances we'll have equivalently great weather are slim, but you never know...

Briefing the students at the beginning

Walking onto the hillock with the good view

Another group in the distance

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