Entertaining Freud

Monday

Morning spent finishing off the methods book.  After lunch glanced through my (various) NTU email accounts, and had a first look at the seminar material for this week.  Urg, Freud.  This one’s going to be a bit of a challenge I think as I’m not as up on Freud as on the other folks we’ve covered to date.

As luck would have it, I had planned to read a book on Freud today anyway so I guess that just got kicked up the scale of importance – wouldn’t help if the students were clearer on his thoughts than I was!

Also landing in my inbox today, the course book for the optional modules for the PRP training course.  It’s a pretty weak selection of anything that’s of much use to me by the looks of it, and certainly the Arts & Humanities selection seems to be a bit poor: two modules on offer, of which I’ve already done one!  Debating taking on of the one’s offered in Psychology, since they seem closer to what I’m interested in learning more about.  I shall have to think about this a bit more.

Oh, and to add to the organisation, none of the modules have any listed dates/times for when they’ll be running – which isn’t helpful since I’m not going to junk my teaching commitments in to do these!  At this rate I can see me re-dropping out of the PRP programme…really pretty poorly organised this year full stop.

Tuesday

Finished off Freud in the morning (or at least the one book) and feel a bit better equipped to face tomorrow’s lecture and Thursday’s seminar.  Followed it up by digging into a book on Qualitative Content Analysis.  I think this is going to be the method that I’ll be using with the phase one interviews, and I need to get my head around it.  I did something like it about 15 years ago, but it wasn’t at such a grand level, so almost relearning it from scratch.

Wednesday

An hour or so more reading and then into this week’s lecture on Freud, a figure I now know more about and will hopefully be able to lead a good seminar on tomorrow.  I say that as I spent three hours after the class on campus preparing my teaching for it.  By the time I came home I was a bit burned out so not much more productive work done.  The lecture was only an hour long at least this week, as the students had a class test to take first.  Which sounds great, except…I’ve got to mark all the ones from my seminar group.  Eep.

Thursday

A bit more work about QCA in the morning (looking at creating coding frames) before I headed in to teach the seminar on Freud.  After my initial fears about this week’s session, I was actually quite happy with the content I was going to present.  It’s been noticeable as I’ve gone through this first term that the time it takes me to prepare material for the seminars has dropped a bit, although a lot of the hard lifting has been done by each week’s lecturer.  All the same it’s been up to me to turn their notes into something I can teach, and hopefully teach to a level that challenges and informs the students.

They’re warming up to my style a bit more now, and are at least more chatty during the sessions.  Then again I keep hearing about some of the other groups and they seem to have more switched on students, so I’m still worried that I’m not quite engaging them as much as I could be.  But then I guess if I felt everything was tickerty boo, then I could be fooling myself more.  Quite enjoyed the session in the end, given all the taboo breaking that a lot of Freud’s thought represents and I hope I got the students thinking a bit more critically about whether they have to accept the theory that is presented to them, or if they can bring their reflexivity to bear and take a different POV.

That done I had a post seminar chat with Kornelia, where we traded stories and ideas for sessions, which was very helpful.  Think I might aim to use yet more video material next week.  After that it was home for a few domestic chores and then a bit more QCA before calling it a day.

Still agonising over the PRP choices though.  Not quite giving me sleepless nights, but if I were to pick my least favourite part of the PhD experience right now, coping with the issues around that course would be the top one.

Friday

A day that started well with attendance at a Graduate School meeting as the maybe-rep for my school, a meeting during which I tried my best not to dominate the discussions. Too much. Honest.  Actually it was quite enjoyable, and if I am rep (or even vice-rep) I think this is going to be a beneficial experience for me, and hopefully provide some much needed direction from the student body for the Grad School.  They mean well, and clearly really give a damn about us all, which is great to see, but like a lot of academia they’re swimming to stay afloat in some places.  Hopefully here’s where I can give them the benefit of the Llama wisdom!

Came home and thought about reading some more, but after 90 minutes staring at a page realised my brain just couldn’t take in any more this week.  So instead went up to print off all the materials for my marking of the class test…only to find the niggling hardware failure that’s been causing my PC not to boot first time in the last week or so has clearly reached failure point, as it just wouldn’t even get into the BIOS.  CMOS battery dead? Memory module failure?  I’m just not sure, and given that my plan this weekend was to order the parts to upgrade to a newer processor…I guess that’s now my main priority.  Not quite how I wanted to end the week really.

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