Tag Archives: teaching

Random miscellany

* I am rubbish at Scrabulous and am currently being slaughtered by derf.
* I know that teaching only one day a week isn’t that arduous, but I do hate Tuesdays.
* Glasgow’s Christmas lights are on, and are even more hideous than ever. I might take my camera into town soon and try to show you them in all their blinginess.
* I miss HD and am trying not to get stressed about the fact that Plan B has fallen through as well. When he gets here tomorrow we will have to think about a Plan C (but we will have a snog first).
* Because they don’t read banns in Scotland, I have to arrange to swear at a vicar in England soon and give him wads of cash. I wonder if he will take Royal Bank of Scotland one pound notes?
* 39 sleeps to go till the wedding 😀

I’m baaaaack!

My “out and about” mobile entry is obviously still floating in the ether and never made it to the blog, so here’s my first chance to say Hello From Glasgow! It rained today.

I’ve had a bit of a bonkers week. I got back to the UK on Saturday, where I was met by HD and we drove back to Wales, having a very romantic wait for the RAC at the services just after the Severn Bridge as Bessie (the car) had overheated. Poor Bessie isn’t very well at the moment, but after a bit of a scare it looks like she’s not finished with us yet and will be gracing our lives for a bit longer. After a lovely weekend in Wales (when we did finally get home), where we (amongst other things) started planning our wedding list*, I spent a couple of days with my parents, generally being fed and watered and catching up with my post (and finding out that I wasn’t (and still haven’t) been paid in September, which is a bit irritating to say the least). Then drove up to Glasgow yesterday, and spent my first night back in the Stately Pile. It’s still there, which was a relief!

Today I was back in uni, and have just popped into the lecture for the new first years, to introduce myself ahead of next week’s tutorials. There don’t seem to be any with two heads, so that’s a relief. There are millions of them though – which means that I probably will have to do an extra tutorial group, and have about 20 more essays than usual to mark. Oh joy.

* that little detail is specially for Alice, who likes to know these things 🙂

My students

… are great! I’ve marked 29 essays so far (I think) and the standard is so much better than any of the other batches I’ve had to mark before. I’ve given out more As than any other grade, and only failed one person so far. I think either they’ve really taken on board the comments from the last lot of essays and really improved, or I’m getting soft in my old age. But I really do think the essays are better than usual, I’m so pleased!

The other thing I’m pleased about is that the mistakes that loads of people made last time that tried my patience (led/lead and were/where confusion) have hardly appeared at all (only one led/lead so far and no were/where at all). There has been a refreshing decrease in random apostrophe appearances (Praise The Lord), and so far the only thing I’ve noticed across several essays is a tendency to write “nevertheless” as 3 separate words. Most odd.

Am giving myself the day off tomorrow for some excitement 🙂 In the meantime, here are a couple of days’ worth of Count Your Blessings copied from below to keep you going:

Tuesday 20th March 2007
El Salvador is still recovering from the effects of the 12-year civil war that ended in 1992. The war left 75,000 people dead and 8,000 missing.

Give 5p for every email, text message or letter you’ve received today from someone you care about.

Wednesday 21st March 2007
Thousands of homeless people will sleep outdoors tonight.

Give 10p for every bed in your home.

What’s this in aid of? Count Your Blessings is a daily Lent plan to help raise funds for the work of Christian Aid.

Lent: Count Your Blessings (Day 7)

Tuesday 27th February 2007
£1.7 billion = extra money needed each year to provide clean drinking water for everyone on Earth.
£46 billion = amount spent each year on bottled water.

Give 10p for every glass of water you drink today. Give 20p if it’s bottled.

What’s this in aid of? Count Your Blessings is a daily Lent plan to help raise funds for the work of Christian Aid.

[In other news: supervision and role-play have been survived. Phew.]

Can you tell what it is yet?

Due to popular demand, here are the pictures of my latest artistic endeavour.the inspiration

raw materials First of all, take some raw materials, and then follow it with a bit of inspiration that even I’d be able to copy (in this case, it’s a picture by the artist Lucio Fontana).

the resultSee what I mean? Doddle 🙂

Of course, like all proper artistes, I had to add my signature. Just in case I’m ever famous, you understand.

As the finishing touch – find a cute model:


I really enjoyed the party, it was great to see some of my friends again, although there were also a lot of people there I didn’t know. Some people had really gone to town with the “come as a work of art” theme – including 13 people (complete with table) who came as Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. It really was very impressive to see the effort some people had gone to. Though at one point earlier in the day I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it – HD and I spent the afternoon in A&E to get him checked out, as someone had driven into the back of his car the day before (he’s OK but a bit shaken) – I did think at one point we were going to die of old age before we were seen. After eventually being seen (after a 3 hour wait, which I suppose could have been worse but wasn’t the greatest way to spend a Saturday afternoon) we got the train to London and on to the party, I was very impressed that HD still said he’d go as after a car smash and an afternoon in A&E I don’t think I’d really want to go to a party full of strangers wearing silly costumes. Anyway – it really was good to see my friends again, it’s been a few months since I saw them and I do miss them a lot. We also spent Friday night/Saturday morning and Sunday lunch at HD’s parents’ place, so that was good for me to get to know them a bit better (they’re not too scary, thankfully).

Now I’m back home I’m trying not to think about PhD supervision tomorrow. I’ve already put it off a week, and I don’t know how I’m going to blag it. Then on Tuesday I’ve got my least favourite tutorial of the year (hooray! it’s the role-play exercise). So I’ll be feeling a bit sick till Tuesday evening.

Pointless anxiety

I do occasionally* have a tendency to be anxious about things that really don’t merit me using up such a large amount of emotional energy. My teaching is one such thing – now that my teaching day is officially Tuesday, I found both last week (the first tutorials of the new academic year) and this week that on Monday evening and (especially) Tuesday morning I felt physically sick, anxious, and really wanted to be ill enough that I could phone in sick. Isn’t that awful? It’s the strangest thing – I never used to be like this, whereas I remember my sister at school often getting stomach aches on the first day of term, and one of my godsons sometimes experienced a similar thing on Sunday nights knowing that he had to go to school the next day. When I was young it didn’t bother me at all, but now I’m a little bit older** it gets me every week. I know it’s irrational, but today I felt so anxious on the bus in to uni, almost a sense of dread, it was horrible, and not helped by the fact that (probably due to the anxiety) I hardly slept at all last night. And it was all so pointless – the tutorials all went really well, much better than last year, and I felt much more like I had a handle on the topics (whereas last year I was totally winging it).

In other news, after all the tutorials I then met up with my Romanian teacher for my first proper Romanian lesson since I was away in Romania in the summer. It was great! I have been really aware that now that I’m no longer in an environment where I have to think and speak in a different language it would be really easy to lose all the language I learnt there, not to mention losing the confidence to speak, but we ended up talking pretty much solidly in Romanian for an hour and a half, and she couldn’t believe the difference from last year, when she knew I understood lots but I simply wasn’t confident enough to speak very much. I got such a buzz, and I’m so pleased that I can still do it, I haven’t forgotten it all and I can even joke convincingly (I think she particularly enjoyed my confession of a mistake I made when I was staying in Cluj with the host family – I was trying to describe a strawberry pudding I’d eaten and liked, but temporarily forgot the word for strawberry, just remembering that it started with c, so I just used the first foodstuff beginning with c that came into my head hoping I’d guessed right. After the laughter had subsided I realised that onion dessert probably wasn’t what I was intending to rhapsodize about).

* well, OK, maybe a bit more than that!
** well, OK, maybe a lot older!


Right up to last week it didn’t feel like nearly the end of term, and I felt like I had more energy than I did with a week to go last term. But this week it’s hitting me – I have supervision tomorrow which I’m really dreading, every time I try to string a couple of thoughts together I feel like I’m about to do whatever the human equivalent of the “blue screen of death” is (anyone who’s had a computer pack up on them will know all about that!), I can’t get coherent sentences out, I’m sleeping long enough but not deep enough (I certainly don’t feel rested anyway when I wake up), I’ve no idea what my Phd is on about, I feel incapable of intellectual thought, I just want a break. Thankfully I’m going to get one – I’m off to London for a bit in a week’s time, and can’t wait, it’ll be the first time I’ve seen lots of my friends since moving here in September – but even then that’s stressful, as it means that I have less time to do all the things I need to do here.

Oh well – only 16 more tutorials to do (not that I’m counting or anything) and 80-something essays to mark, and then at least that’s the teaching out of the way for a few months. Just don’t mention the Russian revision. Or the Romanian revision. Or the literature reviewing which is currently at the wading through treacle stage. Or the planning for Romania in the summer. Or the qualitative methods assignment. Or or or or or. Roll on Friday.

Talk about sod’s law…

That’ll teach me for being so pedantic about my supervisor’s apostrophe.

I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I totally forgot I was supposed to be teaching a tutorial at 2 not 3 (“just time to fit in a blog entry” I thought to myself at 2.20). So I’ve just got there, half an hour late, and they’ve all gone (quite right too).

I’m *so* embarrassed and utterly mortified.



During this morning’s tutorial I became aware of the fact that my trainers smell Very Bad Indeed. I hadn’t even taken them off, I was still wearing them. Of course, curling my feet up under the chair to hide them made all the difference in taking the smell away. Lovely.

Still feeling cheesed off* about the essay marking. I finally got to formally meet the Prof of the Department yesterday, he’s an absolutely lovely, gentle man, and he was clearly very grateful that my position had been created and that I am taking on the Level 1 essays. In fact, he told me that when he had heard I was going to do all the essay-marking he had thought that Christmas had come. I nearly cried. My Christmas (and the next 3 after that) are well and truly screwed because of this. He said that in previous years the lecturers had discussed marking each others’ essay questions but had decided that as they didn’t know so much about each others’ subjects that was a bad idea, and he also said that sometimes he gets as many as 40 essays and how tough that is. So what do they do – give me twice as many when I don’t know anything about any of their subjects, and have Christmas off. Gah. I know it will be really good experience for my CV and all the rest of it (that ‘good’ just got typoed as ‘ogod’, which is probably more apt), but it’s just overwhelming – I want to start getting my head round my own research (which I still feel I’m not working hard enough at or have enough time for), plus once I’ve moved house I need to sort out getting some nursing work to ease the financial strain. I really really want to get a life, but it’s just not happening 🙁

Yesterday I met a couple of students who have changed to our course so will start coming to the tutorials. One of them was really anxious that she hadn’t got History A’level and thought that might be a disadvantage. She looked relieved when I told her I didn’t have a history background at all – I thought better though of telling her my only qualification was when I got History O’level 20 years ago, mostly because it can’t really have been 20 years ago, surely – I’m so not that old.

* considerable understatement