I had a real dilemma yesterday. Should I go to a meeting which involved discussion of what I might be teaching next year? Maybe I needed to defend my modules? Or should I go and listen to a visiting speaker? We’d urged our students to attend the latter. One colleague had even changed the time of her class so that she and her students could attend.
There is a need to prioritise in the following order:
What is important and urgent
What is important but not urgent
What is urgent but not important
What is neither urgent nor important
(Covey, Seven Habits)
I decided the meeting was more urgent that the visiting speaker but not quite as important and anyway a senior colleague had to be there and I could trust her to defend my interests and take a global view of our entire programme.
The series of visiting speakers is called “Vital Signs”. In this situation, one could see how apt a name that really is. We have to remember what we are actually about. Lucy Walker, a young published novelist and playwright, who started writing on her BA Creative Writing programme, came to speak to our students.
One of my colleagues started the session off with a very focussed question and answer session. Then there were general questions from the floor. Lucy read at the end of the session. This is almost the complete reverse of what one normally does, but it worked extremely well.
One recognised the life style. Several projects on the go. A little teaching here and there. A few talks. And rejection. In Lucy’s case, one really nasty one.
I think I made the right choice. As a bonus, the talk was extremely enjoyable.