Friday 28 May 2010

A Feeling of Summer

Yes, there has definitely been the feeling of end of term about this week. Our students are starting to drift away. The last exam was on Wednesday. A few late course work assignments are coming in and a few students are dropping by to pick up ones which have been marked. The staff, of course, get a little short tempered when friends from outside of the academy remark: “I suppose it’s getting quieter now that the students have finished?”
Well, not really. Have you seen our offices lately? Mountains of scripts on every floor. We have the marking, the moderating, gradebooking (putting the grades into an electronic system) and the exam boards yet. Already, also, we have emails making demands about what needs to be done for next year.
Yet there was something about this week. Even though a temporary bout of hot weather came to an end on Wednesday, it’s picked up again and is now actually just right.
A colleague and I went as usual to our choir practice on Tuesday. That is always such a great contrast to the day job. A university lecturer can be quite isolated… an expert in a narrow field working alone in an office, and no one really knows whether you are there or not.
On Wednesday, the whole of our school, academic and support staff were invited to the home of our Vice Chancellor. He has insisted on living close to the university in a house he wishes to share with his colleagues. It is a beautiful place with a lovely garden – yes there are beautiful places within five minutes’ of our drive of Salford University. The VC entertained us for two hours. He knows us all by name now.
Then Thursday two of my creative writing colleagues gave readings at the Chorlton Festival. Several colleagues from our school and even a few students turned up. It was a lovely evening.
Today the VC has excelled again and organised a party on the greener part of our campus from 12.00 until 4.00. There was good food and live music provided by community groups. A pity our choir wasn’t there. But we scored. As I walked into the marquee with a colleague another choir was singing a couple of our songs. I immediately phoned the other choir member who had not yet come down. At that very moment the VC walked up to greet us.
“Hello there, again,” he said, addressing us both by name. I was impressed.
I hurriedly got off the phone and explained what I was doing.
“Which choir is that?” he asked.
“The Ordsall Acapella I told him.
“Ah, they’re good aren’t they?” he said.
“Oh yes we are,” I replied.
Lets hope we can do a gig at the university soon.
And despite that little frustration, the party had a good feel to it. Yes, there is definitely a feeling of summer.

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