They're BACK

Posted by September Blue Wednesday, 23 September 2009

There are students all over the city. New students, fresh and wide-eyed. And my enthusiasm for working with first-years, it turns out, does not extend to having to share a city with them. I'm not usually the kind of person who can be chafed into a constant low-level bubbling rage by the presence of Other People Being Annoying, but first-years moving slowly across campus in groups of 25... grargh.

Students coming back means freshers' week, and freshers' week means NOISE, especially on campus during the day. There was one very loud outdoor party recruiting for something-or-other which went on for so long that plans were devised to shut it up so that some of us could get on with work (specifically, my boss and the dean were going to head down there and party like it was 1979 until the whole thing dissolved through terminal uncoolness). Also, it means that grand old British tradition of the POSTER SALE!!!!, which you have to write with that many exclamation marks, and the people handing out flyers, who even tried handing them to me and one of my colleagues the other day ("Aww! No, but thank you so much!"). And it also means, for some of us, a desperate scramble to timetable classes around students' other classes, because we do not have any kind of central timetabling system to do that for us.

I don't know why we don't have central timetabling. The last place I worked had central timetabling, all the places my friends work have central timetabling, but here, you say 'Why isn't this done centrally?' and you get baffled looks. Why, nobody does this centrally! It makes much more sense to work out when compulsory classes should be by getting all the students to vote! Even though that inevitably means saying 'Okay, who actually can't make Thursday at 4?', and then getting annoyed with students who say they can't because they're working that day, because we shouldn't have to organise their classes around their lives. And I agree that we shouldn't, but perhaps the students wouldn't think otherwise if we weren't asking them to pick times for their classes in the first place, maybe?


Students are back, and now I have to teach them stuff I hadn't even heard of myself until this year. So. Fingers crossed.