15 January 2023

Divvying up another colleague’s load

I suppose it's part of anybody's job to sometimes pick up tasks from colleagues who can’t do them themselves! My colleagues have had to pick up after me when I signed off with RSI. And we've had to cover for colleagues who were either ill or had ill loved ones. And we are there again. One of my colleagues, a physical oceanographer, had to sign off sick for quite a while a few months ago. He is still gone.

The first thing I had to do when he signed off was make sure I didn't give him any dissertation students. The news of him signing of sick reached me between having assigned all students to a supervisor, and me publishing this list to the students. So I quickly had to shuffle things around a bit! But thanks to kind colleagues who were willing to take on an extra student, that was fairly quickly sorted. I took one myself.

That was the dissertation module; the actual teaching of that module would be in the second semester. But we were still in the first semester. And the man who had signed off was teaching in my module, but he had already done all his teaching, and the assignment he had was an online test, so that marked itself. So in that sense, everyone got away lightly. And in his own module the situation was similar. His input had been earlier in the module, and now it was up to the other people in the module to finish things off.

The next thing that happened was the exam period. And one of our other physical oceanographers was so kind as to volunteer for marking the absent man's questions on the exams of both modules. That was very generous!

That was the exam period sorted. But soon, term is starting. The teaching he has that I'm not involved in is being organised outside my view. But there is one module that we both teach on in the second semester. His contribution to the module had to be re-distributed!

He had five lectures and an assignment. One of the lectures is on a topic that I have been teaching on in this very module, so I volunteered for it. One of the research stuff kindly took on the rest. And I took on the assignment. Not that I am looking forward to a big extra marking load, but due to convoluted circumstances I had marked this assignment before. I figured that meant it should be me who takes this on. I already know what it's about! I can hit the ground running.

I think we'll cope until he comes back! I'm not sure when that is. And no one ever really wants to take on more work, but I do like that we are such a well oiled machine that if someone signs off, we make it work. I don't think this will be the last time!

No comments: