Friday 22 January 2010

The Joy of Working at a Univeristy

I had a strangely mixed day yesterday. I spent form 8.30 until about 2.00 shuffling coursework around. We had already marked them and entered the marks into our grade-processing software. This was just making sure all the copies were ready for the external examiner and that the office and our examinations officer had all that they needed. There were one or two odd situations to address – two students had submitted the work wrongly and so I found assignments buried within others and then one student looked as if she had submitted two pieces of work. There was one number different in the middle of the student number of the one who had made the mistake.  
I’d already told the students they could come and collect work. There was a tap at my door. My second best student form this module, and one I’m encouraging to do a Ph D. Bizarrely, I had her paper in front of me and I had just finished processing it. She stayed for a chat which was delightful. She’s thinking of doing an undergrad dissertation and wants me to supervise. Of course I’d be happy to.  
After she went, I managed to finish most of the admin – there’s a little I can’t do until I’ve checked a few things. Then there was another knock at the door. This time my best student. Also wanting to do a dissertation.  Also wanting me to supervise. She wants to go on to an MA and also to a Ph D. I was only too pleased to talk to her as well.
I then did some moderation of other modules as a steady stream of students came to collect work. Delightful. I was spending my time editing other people’s writing, in a way, and in talking to some about their work.  
The day got better as we went along. In the evening, twenty of us went out to a restaurant to celebrate one of our colleague’s promotions. We met at 6.30 and we left at 11.30. Good food, good wine, good company. I talked of how little in life pleases me more than my work – yes family and friends, of course, and nice holidays, but I don’t dread going back to work and I certainly don’t need retail therapy.
“It’s because you’re an academic,” commented a colleague. “You work to your joy.”
He’s right. There’s even some satisfaction about getting all the admin done.      

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