A couple of weeks after having a last lecture at the School of Business and Economics I now had my last tutorial with a group of business students. A decidedly low-key affair, the students were only interested in making sure they performed well on their business writing assignment. All questions were about that, especially about how to determine the content, whether it was appropriate to treat it this way or that, whether this economic model fitted their topic: questions I shouldn’t really have to handle, but could. The students hadn’t received much content feedback, so I was their only source. And so the tutorial ended. That was it. The students left promptly, hurrying away to continue their electronic socialization, while I picked up my things and switched off the computer in the room.
“That’s it,” I thought. No need to do this again. I thought I’d chat about it to colleagues, but there was no-one around drinking coffee. So I left, saying goodbye to Ina at reception. “I’m sure I’ll be back in the building. No doubt there’ll be meetings. It’s really only au revoir.”
Perhaps the low-key nature was appropriate. I realized it was not just the last tutorial at the SBE, but it was my last one of 2013. An early end this year. Indeed it was a pretty low week overall, at least on the education side – in this blog I’ve decided to skip the exciting things of the week.
There’s still plenty to do: collating and checking participation results, marking papers, resits, and so on. It’s strange to reflect on the whole cycle for what is a very short course. Planning meetings in September, tinkering or revising with the materials and getting everything on learning platform during October, running and teaching the course in November and December, marking papers in December and January, results in January, consultation meeting and appeals in February, resit meetings during March, resit marking in April, outcomes and appeals during May, then closure. The course can go to sleep for three months. Six weeks of course actually involves nine months of work. Ok, not always very intensive, but it’s ticking away.When you multiply this across several other courses, you end up with a very intricate patchwork year with things always starting up and closing down. I’m already working on the next courses that start up in January and February, and these could again be for the last time. I might not even get to finish them. And perhaps that’s a good sign: these courses don’t end with me, they simply hibernate or estivate for a while, till someone kicks them back into life again. Or they mutate. The last tutorial isn’t a last one really: it will simply mutate, it will keep ticking over ever more slowly.