09 May 2017

New responsibility: peer guides

I mentioned it already: as the most junior member of teaching staff (on a very temporary contract too, so not in a position to be too picky) you can get lots of jobs shoved your way. Another one appeared; the job of peer guide coordinator. The original one, who also was on a temporary contract and who had no faith in the situation improving, had seized an opportunity at Natural Resources Wales and would leave. So I got her task!

Peer guides, by the way, are students who get paid to A) look after freshers during Welcome Week and B) help on open days. They are important! Without students we're nowhere, and the peer guides are involved in attracting them and making their student career start on a high note.

I had one meeting with Kate, the leaving lady, alone, in which she told what to expect. We had another one with one of this year's head peer guides. She was the only one of the four who could make it. Then I had a meeting with both this year's and next year's head peer guides to do the hand-over, None of the old head peer guides stay on! That's unusual. But at least we have some PhD students around who have been head peer guides in the past; they are willing to stand by with advice. I myself am full of good will but have no experience whatsoever. I too have external help if needs be; my colleague Jaco has been peer guide coordinator and is willing to dish out some wisdom if needed.

Just before Kate left she had turned down a peer guide applicant on the basis of low attendance. This student had appealed. So within minutes I had my first serious decision on my plate! I decided to go and meet this student and judge for myself. She convinced me she had had good reasons to be absent, and would be able to avoid absence during crucial times, such as welcome week. She's back in! I hope she'll do well.

I also had a meeting with the admissions committee. As the peer guide coordinator you're automatically part of that. After a lousy start where I was in the booked Meeting Room 1 when everybody else was obliviously sitting in Conference Room 1 we got down to business. We don't have enough peer guides for the upcoming open days; I have to use my charms to try and change that! A responsible job. Watch this space!

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