Monday & Tuesday (week beginning 14th October)
Days spent editing the chapter. Slowly getting to the point where it actually makes sense to me, and I’m able to spot bits that are gibberish far more easily. Finding that reading it aloud helps a lot – as I rapidly spot the clunkers. Seem to be getting a bit faster on the editing too. All the same I’ll be glad to get this bit done.
Also some time on the old email tubes sorting out some administration nonsense with the uni. Which reminds me I need to find out how I get paid for last week’s teaching. I’ve things I need (want) to spend the money on!
Wednesday and Thursday
Lecture time on Wednesday looking at conversation analysis. Interesting as aspects of this lecture last year crept into our RPC course (and I realise now that it was the same teacher!) Sorta glad I don’t have to teach this one this week as the tutorial looked a bit like it would be like pulling teeth. Which was a coincidence as having had my front tooth chipped on Sunday, fixed on Monday, the filling fell out on Thursday evening. Le sigh. More editing on Wednesday afternoon, and then Thursday was my dad’s funeral. Not much more to say there really.
A semi frustrating day during which my energy levels utterly collapsed. Probably as a result of the emotional toil of the previous day, which was annoying as I really wanted to crack on with my editing. Did follow up with my supervisors over the level two RPC (PRP) course which turns out not to be available in a block teaching segment. So much for asking the head of the Graduate School the question directly, clearly he gave me a duff answer.
But having reviewed the content, being now on the direct to PhD route and with my teaching commitments for this year I’ve concluded that I just can’t spare the time to attend it or do the coursework. Real shame, but I think it’s the best decision as it lets me focus in on my research. I do hope to go to some of the other training the uni offers though, so I might have to look into that in the next week or so. Ran the idea past my supervisors first though, just in case they had any objections. As it turns out they’re quite happy as they’re not convinced by the content either.
And yes, my tooth is now fixed. Again.
Monday (week beginning 21st October)
As I forgot to post this last week, lets make this a two week blog. Today was spent…editing. Some of it was my chapter, most of it was rewriting my annual report to my supervisors’ and internal examiners satisfaction. Hopefully they’ll be okay to sign it off now.
Realised it was open access week as well this week. Second year in a row when I’ve had nothing to do with it. Not that I could do much with it at Leicester after my HoD threw out my idea to dress as the Child Catcher and stalk the academics’ corridors “smelling out” their unshared papers. Can’t see what the problem was with the idea myself…
Meanwhile, posted a couple of seasonal recipes over on my Llamapaws blog, for pumpkin lovers.
Just to break up the routine…went to the dentists first thing. Thankfully this was just my regular scrape and polish appointment – and all my teeth remained intact. Editing for the rest of the day, and made some good progress. Another couple of solid days efforts and I’ll have the chapter close to done. A few more after that (so next week) and I can share it with my supervisor.
Got my supervisors’ comments back on my annual review (mk2) – I am making “good progress” if somewhat ambitious with my plans for the year (but they like that, better than not having enough to do). Glad they feel like I’m making progress, round about now I feel like I’m swimming in treacle on my own – and I hate treacle (not good for the teeth or the waistline you know!). *Sigh* I know every PhD must get this feeling, but as the nights draw in and it’s dark more and more one can’t help but feel increasingly isolated.
That said in other news I’ve got to write a short election blurb for student rep. Two of us have volunteered for the post (and there is a vice post so election to one of the roles is certain). Debating writing something about being a “good egg” or alternatively pointing out I’ve worked in HE for yonks and know how to make the whole Administratum work. Suspect I won’t exactly poll many votes, so am preparing for the role of Selina Meyer!
Essentially pissed away an hour in the morning before driving over to campus to attend this week’s communication lecture This week was looking more at conversation analysis and at public speaking, a particular interest of mine so I really enjoyed it. Looking at the material we’re running for the seminars this week, I’m a lot happier than I was with my first one; although that doesn’t mean I’m not going to go to the one first thing tomorrow and pick up a few more tips.
After losing that hour in the morning by the time I got back I was ready to crack the whip and work, work, work on my editing. Only 10 pages to go so I should be done with this editing by the end of the week. A polish early next week and then I can open it up to the scorn….erm reviewing comments of my supervisory team. I am not kidding when I say I’m rather dreading that now. Having spoken to a fellow student this week who had their writing heavily criticised I’m going to brace myself. It’s the first chapter I’ve written so it’s always going to be the one that is the most rubbish. There’s so much I’d do differently (and will) for future chapters in terms of planning, note taking and structure; so it’s been a real learning experience. I just hope the content is at least half decent.
So, just your basic confidence and self belief issues today.
Extra reading assignment for the day – Lisa Jeskin’s blog post where she expands on the discussion we’ve been having on the comments. Go read and then come back here, I’ll wait…
Up at the crack of…no, before dawn, so I could breakfast and feed two lots of livestock AND then get to campus for 8.30am. Was shadowing a tutorial again. Not quite sure if I’m expected to do this every week, as I think I could probably have done this week’s without it. But all the same it was a useful few minutes to discuss tactics with my fellow junior-assistant-underpaid lecturer Kornelia. Following this we went a saw another member of the teaching team who helped us sort out some more of the little technical/administration issues that we have pending. Still haven’t discovered how we get paid for this gig yet mind you, and now there’s the issue of next Thursday being a strike day for the unions. Not being in the union kinda wondering if I’ll have to drive through/over the picket line. And if my supervisor will take away my Marxist hat if I do turn up!
After that went and wrote my student rep election notice, which will probably have the same level of success as the last time I stood for student rep when I was 11. The phrase I believe is “crashed and burned”. But all the same, I think it does do me some good to try and contribute back to the university on behalf of the students. Hell, I’m a wannabe communications academic so I should really do some of that communication with the academics.
One signature gained on my annual review, two to go. And a week before I have to hand it in…
[later] Well that didn’t quite go according to plan. Turned out the IT guys in my dept are too good – they switched over all my teaching account stuff to my new staff account. The account for which all the details were on my desk. At home. About 19 miles away. Discovered this about 70 minutes before I was due to teach…so had to race home, grab it and screech back. Made it in time – and I don’t think the students could see the blind panic dying slowly in my eyes. Class was interesting, but I do wonder if I’m being too soft on them, since getting them to talk is still a bit of an uphill struggle. Did get some interaction though, and I think they got something out of being forced to transcribe Eastenders.
Had my usual debrief chat with Kornelia and then came home, after trying to track down some more signatures. No luck. Kinda burned out by the rush of earlier so crashed out for a couple of hours. Will be back into it all tomorrow full force though. Do like having a staff account though, as suddenly all sorts of new messages and news are appearing that I wasn’t aware of before.
Some more reading for you – Why you should blog your research. I will, you know, once I have time to really get some analysis done over the next couple of months.
Had to do a fair bit of travelling today for none work things. So spent the time sitting on the train reading the 1985 Jarrett report into Higher Education. Somewhat frustratingly this isn’t online anywhere I could find, but thankfully I tracked down that the BL had a copy. Surprisingly short and readable, and there’s a lot in this that has shaped the ideology and praxis HE of today, just as much as Robbins (1963), Dearing (1997) and Browne (2010) to name but three others. Yet doesn’t seem to be flagged up as often in the papers I’ve read on the topic. Certainly in terms of the whole marketisation agenda it’s pretty significant indeed.