‘I imagine that you teach through who you are. The only way, in my books. Students need not only different voices but also a variety of approaches to being taught’ (Email to a postgraduate student (February 15, 2021)).
Monday, February 15. WFH: DAY 30. 8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: I reviewed the week ahead, my ‘To do’ list and the School’s postgraduate applications-pending list, and caught up with REF developments. The School is on the final lap in this respect. The day moved forward at a growing pace. Request mounted upon request. 10.00 am: The day’s ‘URGENT’ list was established. (In the background: Phil Niblock, Touch Five (2013).) 10.30 am: I started making summaries, and summaries of summaries, related to the research outputs that I’m contributing to the REF exercise.
I’m on a tea detox. Cups of boiling-hot water are far from consoling. And then there’s Lent in a few day’s time … and my back hurts. 12.00: pm: On, then, with the ‘Ways of Working With Sound’ workshop, to which I contribute annually, as part of the university’s research training provision:
It went reasonably well, apart from a sudden and an inexplicable loss of sound transmission from the PowerPoint’s screen-share, right at the end. 2.15 pm: Late lunch. 2.45 pm: There were some emailed questions arising from the workshop that needed swift dispatch; uploads to initiate; and a register to complete, before I could return to the morning’s business. (Tidying up after an online class takes time.) I pushed on with REFing, relentlessly. A deadline was looming. 6.30 pm: Practise session 1.
7.30 pm: R. E. F. More. More. More! 9.30 pm: Deadline accomplished. 9.45 am: Practise session 2.
Tuesday, February 16. WFH: DAY 31. A poor night’s sleep. 7.45 am: Proof of presence:
8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: Emailery, and a review of this morning’s MA fine art and other tutorials. 9.30 am: Away we went:
Some students have found this week in particular to be a struggle. Why this one rather than the last one, rather than the next one? Goodness knows. Assuming the role of a home-schooler creates an additional pressure on those who have children. We each have a tipping point. Life is so narrowly circumscribed these days. I’m beginning to forget what it was like to roam freely, shoulder to shoulder with others. One week at a time; one day at a time; one hour at a time. That’s how it’s done. 1.00 pm: Tutorials and other discussions completed.
1.45 pm: Having packed an eBay sale for dispatch, I headed for the School to make a deposit. I look forward to my returns. Ordinarily, at this time of year, the students would be trafficking up and down the staircase, like the stone angels that ascend and descend the stone ladders on the façade of Bath Cathedral:
2.15 pm: Back at my desk, I caught up with the lunchtime emails before settling to my responsibilities as a External Examiner for a PhD Fine Art submission from another institution. (In the background: free improvisation from Company 1 (1976).) On the first read, I approach a thesis as I would a book. I’m intent on getting an overview, before digging into the details. 4.30 pm: Outage:
On my return home, a flock of starlings swooped low above my house. Their sound was like that of roller-skates on tarmac.
6.30 pm: Practise session. 7.30 pm: Teaching admin beckoned. The Art/Sound module required a plan of action for the next few weeks, as we move towards the phase of one-to-one tutorial support. I returned to thesis reading for the remainder of the evening.