8.30 am: The rain had returned:
9.00 am: I’d a full day of teaching, advisory, and ‘pastoring’ ahead. The inbox was poked periodically, while I awaited arrivals. When I was a student, staff taught you … and that was that. They didn’t see your problems and future as being either their business or responsibility. And who’d ever heard of student support, back then? How things have changed. Today, teaching is only one arrow in the academic’s quiver. We have to be counsellors, allies, ‘parents’, ever-open ears, and in-the-know about who has the specialised knowledge and resources to help students best, when we can’t.
Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:
- You must develop the capacity to make a sober estimation of your work: one that acknowledges the virtues and the deficits in a balanced and judicious manner.
- Avoid being ‘blown around by every wind’ of other people’s opinions about your work. Know your own mind, dig your heels in, and follow your path with a finger in each ear.
- We fail not for want of talent but of courage, sometimes.
- Don’t try to do what shouldn’t be done.
- Why do some tutorials speed-by, while others crawl? I suspect the perception is largely conditioned by the degree of mutual participation between tutor and tutee.
- Learn to interrogate your work, and to discern a greater significance in what you’ve done.
- Your problems are bespoke. They are no better or worse than anyone else’s problems. Your problems are known. Other people’s, aren’t. ‘Better the devil … ‘, as they say.
There was a sluggishness throughout the day. When a sense of imperative is absent, I get nervous. A clock is ticking away in my bones. I know (too well) how much time and effort is required for a student to pull-off a commendable exhibition. The challenge demands much of them. Some will grasp the sense of urgency sooner than others.
5.30 pm: My final tutorial completed, I headed home. On the whole, I’m pleased with the progress that all my charge are making. Everyone has a vision for their show and a strategy to achieve it. They must stick to it. A momentum is building.
7.30 pm: My list of ‘to dos’ has grown alarmingly over the last few days. Among them is big stuff. I cracked on with the what was immediately necessary, for the remainder of the evening.