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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Does the learning never end?



From Building 4 one only gets the most tantalizing glimpses of the sunrise (if you happen to be in school at the ungodly hour of the morning which gives you the opportunity) which today appears almost ridiculously artificial.  The sky is a deep, comically vulgar orange which is changing as I type to a broken yellow with artistically arranged clouds to give a slight verisimilitude to the scene.  It is hardly the sort of artistic stimulation that needs the abrupt mood breaking contrast of the stark reality of having to teach kids!

Ah, well, that was yesterday and yesterday (in the new dispensation) is a “short” day, one of the you-can-make-it-to-June days that give me the impetus not to despair and to be able to take the day-to-day grind of education!

Although I am up to date with my OU work, it is mildly worrying that the next TMA is due in the dearly days of February and we are now in the last week of January.  In some ways this piece of tutor marked work should be one of the easier ones for me, as it demands that I do some creative writing and then produce an evaluation of the work with a discussion of the process of the writing.  As I intend to write a sonnet I really should be thinking seriously of what I have to do now and not wait for the actual week that we are given to consider our options before submitting.

This evening I will have to crack on and make careful note of what processes and techniques the OU emphasises so that my piece of work can exemplify them.  If nothing else I should have learnt that from the experience of writing the Wiki with the rest (the remains!) of the group.  Sticking to the remit of the task is one of the most important aspects which will ensure a successful completion.  And I am writing this to remind myself of the approach that I need to take.

I am still waiting for someone to get in touch from the Gustav Holst Museum about the first draft of the Spring Rice poem used for the “I vow” hymn but I am not holding my breath.  Though I am still interested in the details of the process of production and hope that there may be an opportunity to finish the “research” that I did for the first TMA which was ruthlessly cut away for the final version submitted!

Today is a full day with the period before my last designated for boring marking.  By the time I finish I will be truly looking forward to my end-of-day swim!

The swim was good but more tiring that it should have been.  But that is something which is natural when one has been a whole day in school!

Today, Thursday, has been one of those days when you truly wonder why you are still in education.  Nothing to do with the kids, however chatty they have been, but more to do with the vulnerability of someone who lives miles away from work which is only reasonably reachable by using the motorway system.  A motorway system that is susceptible to the mind-bending tedium of traffic delay.

There is something intolerable in any traffic delay but there is something much worse in delays which are in darkness.  I have told myself that I have noticed a definite lightening of the mornings, but I am aware that I am basically kidding myself and when I am setting off for the School on the Hill it could just as well be the middle of the night.  So there I was, sitting stationary in a long line of traffic cursing whatever gods might be that I was so early there was no chance whatsoever of my arriving late for my lessons.  And I didn’t.  Though I did, barely, have time for my cup of tea which was more than I managed on Monday!

Today however is one of my shorter days when I fully intend to be as Boojum-like as possible as soon as this class ends.

What happened to Friday?  Admittedly I did a runner and had the afternoon in Castelldefels rather than in the School on the Hill.  A truly excellent lunch on the street leading up to the church and I even managed to do some marking in the evening thus ensuring, in the way of these things, that I will do some other marking during the weekend.

Saturday meant an “early” start at nine, which meant that was two and a half hours later than my normal time for rising!

The new computer gave me a fright, as it seemed to deny that it had an operating system that the Elluminate system that the OU uses for its long distance tutorials actually recognized.  Everything worked out well, however and a generally stimulating time was had by all – in spite of the usual technical problems that best each attempt to get all of us in touch with each other.  I fear than many of these so-called technical faults are nothing to do with the equipment and everything to do with the incompetence of the individuals using it.

The content of the tutorial was good and stimulated me to producing in short order the “follow-on” work that we are supposed to do.  I am sure that the piece of “creative writing” that we had to produce and which I have now posted on line, will not have endeared me to my fellow students but I have to admit that producing it was more attractive than doing the pile of marking which is still waiting for me – with more to follow next week when our students having just completed a multi-examination Mock will face further test, all of which will have to be marked.  This is so we can get these examinations out of the way to make space for the examinations they will be facing soon after they return from the White Week.  Lunacy wealds a red pen!

However, to take my mind off he horrors of yet more marking, I wrote a poem based on another aspect of the tutorial this morning and promptly posted it on-line for my fellow students to critique.  Academic nastiness knows no bounds when it is part of displacement activity!

However much I prevaricate the marking which is upstairs on the Third Floor will have to be done before Monday. 

So roll on Sunday!
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