Filed under: Observations and general wonderings
August and September are a funny time for education. Scottish schools start back mid August whereas English schools start in early September. After the recovery period of July and August’s hurley burley of helping students come to terms with their exam results, they are now starting to get back into their regular routine. But for a whole bunch of students there are still several weeks to go. Those who are already at uni are used to the long break and may be working to earn money or taking their holiday before they return to their studies. But for the new student it’s a strange experience – they’ve never had a holiday as long as this! What do you do with it? And ahead there is ‘the unknown’. Whilst the unknown can be daunting, it can also add a thrill to life. Remember that around half a million other people feel the same as you. You are not alone!
For staff at university it also feels as though we are in limbo and waiting for the return of students. It’s a time to finalise arrangements for Orientation Week and to make sure everyone is ready to welcome our new students. Ours is now only two weeks away! It’s also time to make sure everything is ready for teaching. Do the timetables make sense and are rooms big enough? Are the resources up to date on our VLE (virtual learning environment – electronic versions of everything)? What handouts will I be using? And, most importantly, are my lecture notes up to date? We’ve got a couple of new lecturers and they are trying hard to find their feet so they can face their classes with confidence. This sometimes means doing a whole semester of practicals over a couple of days or weeks to make sure they work. You don’t want to find that the practical doesn’t work when stood in front of 25 students!
As well as getting ready for term, staff are also trying to use up any remaining holiday. Once term begins it’s virtually impossible for staff or students to have a day off, so no break now until Christmas… no rest for the wicked I guess : D
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