Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Back to School

Well college started on Monday which is strange. Ruskin being a Trade Union college and Monday being May (Labour) Day. However, it was said we will all turn up for the first day irrespective of which bank holiday it was. I can live with that. Half the class couldn't live with it and didn't manage to get there , for reasons best known to themselves. Half an hour was wasted drawing the timetable on the Smart Board to work out tutorial times, this could have been done sometime in the last six weeks and saved to a Memory Stick. The term specification had not arrived in emails as it should have done. Then it turned out that we were not doing the two Bill Shakespeare plays first, but EMMA which I still haven't got to grips with so I am automatically going to be chasing my tail from Day 1. And the Senior Tutor said, "You must come to tutorials, it an honour to have them." Well maybe, maybe not. Nothing of course was said about the fact that they got nearly £4k from me to be on the course. That of course wasn't an honour for them to take the check. Were I to finish the course they would get another £4.5K for each of the next two years.

The email was re-sent before the first class of the week was over. "OK," thinks me, "I'll go and print it off," something I shouldn't have had to do. I went to the library to use the computer. It was closed. For Bank Holiday.  Excuse me, but if you are going to insist the students come in on a bank Holiday then the facilities should be available, or am I wrong?

On the second day tutorials for the other part of the course were assigned for some of the same weeks as the first one and later in the day were re-assigned so they didn't clash. The tutor left the class to photocopy required text and other material a number of times which, to my mind, should have been prepared sometime in the last six weeks. I wonder if the administrators/managers are putting too much pressure on the teaching staff.

Anyhoo this will be my last term I do not feel I am getting value for money. I am not talking about the teaching, but the other stuff, the framework upon which we should be able to hang our hats while studying. Administration is notorious in all colleges for not being 'fit for purpose'. What ever the college problems are be it timetables, class allocation, equipment  they are not our concern and we should not be affected by them, but we are. This is a failing that should be corrected so we don't know the problem is there. After my first two days it seems I need to work about 20 hours a day just to stand still I don't have time for the college problems.


Wiggins said...

But education admin is & always will be crap - the combination of money, no money, people, no people, and so on.
It is top of my list for fixing when I become world dictator.
You seem, from your writings here, to be getting quite a lot from the course - not just reading things you may never have, but looking at them and thinking about them in a way that appears to be stimulating your mind (whether for good or bad). That is something which is difficult to do on one's own, and an incredibly valuable experience.

Maffi said...

I come from a school of if it's broke fix it. If I am paying for it then I need it fixed before I can progress.

Anonymous said...

And the other side of the coin - Emma was on your reading list over the Easter - 6 weeks to read 3 books is pretty good... that you are chasing your tail is a fine example of the good old saying 'failing to prepare is preparing to fail'. Students and lecturers are often as bad as eachother. Your lack of preparation affects them, just as theirs affects you. Education is a two way thing.

It sounds as though college is an example of how many aspects of our lives are disorganised. We are all too keen to point out the short fallings of others when really our own lives aren't much better anbd we live in a dysfunctional environment.

You say 'I come from the school of if it's broke fix it'... which is surprising considering many aspects on your boat that are broke and aren't fixed...!!! ;-)

Everything applies at home as well as outside it!


Maffi said...

I was speaking administratively. I am paying for this.

Wiggins said...

Your fees, scarily, probably dont cover much. Academics are paid piddly amounts compared to many jobs with less training. They are not given great conditions (I know, comfy chairs & whatnot, but the pressure to publish when they need to teach & so on).
If the teaching is good, and the academic staff so everything they can to help students, you cant ask for much more. Governments no longer think funding education is important, but everyone still expects brilliant service.

Mick and Mags said...

After 25 and 27 years respectively spent working in higher education. Me and Her know a little bit about what goes on in the background.

How do you educate a student who only wants to do a year and then drop out. Students who are encouraged to go for a university place but are not equipped by the state educational system to complete the course. Students who do not know how to take notes in tutorials whose language skills are dictated by text speak M8.

Universities now work the BOSS (bums on seat system) where revenue and quality are opposing drivers.

To be a successful student requires dedication and diligence. However, most students are looking to do the minimum amount of work to obtain a degree. When their minimal efforts let them down – the standard of tutorials are cited. When that fails inappropriate reading list are cited. The list goes on – the one thing always missing from the plethora of excuses is the lack of effort on behalf of the student.

Changes in a course structure is forced upon the staff – it comes from staff student meetings where the students who cant get up in a morning demand afternoon allocations. They don't want to attend two tutorials one after the other. Now we do class registers, because the ethos of wanting to be there is changing to one of having to be there.

Don't get me going on EC's (extenuating circumstances) I have heard every excuse in the book.

Maffi said...

The vast majority of students at Ruskin are there because they chose, they are also a good bit older that your average student.

I tend to get stressed when the timetable changes after the term has started, so much so that it is a problem for me to stay in the class. It is unfair that a class should start with stress. And dont tell me not to worry about it that would be like telling me not to breathe.

Yesterday about six other students from different courses came into our class while we were working because though the TT had been changed there were still old copies around the building.

It is just not good enough.

I work the BOST method If my Bum is On the Seat then I want Teaching I do not want problems or stress. It's not what I came for.