Monday, 10 July 2006

Should I

Should I go to a Chinese translation research seminar? I don't care about Chinese translation, but it says in the uni newsletter that the seminar-er is going to talk about the first sentences of Pride and Prejudice and The Old Man and The Sea.

Maybe I can wag the second half.

Tomorrow and for the two days following I am doing a course. It is the first unit of some kind of graduate certificate in university teaching. The people who run these courses are brave, I think. It is hard to imagine anything more potentially soul-destroying than having to try to teach university teachers how to teach. Shall I sit in the back row, or the front? And should I bring a musical instrument? I'm sort of half-hoping it will be like training day on The Office...and half not.

15 comments:

paoyi said...

fingers crossed that it turns out that way... because lets face it... 'freelove freeway' is a song that fits equally well at ANY training day, no matter the course content.

Marrickvillia said...

I'm going to do one of those courses next semester, too. I've heard some woeful stories about them as I share a corridor with the teachers who teach the teachers. My uni is a big city one with some faculties that regularly import teachers from overseas, often China and India. One PhD from China had been given 20 year old overheads by the crusty Professor who'd brought her over to teach his course. She thought it was compulsory to use them, and did so for three years until she did the grad cert & was told she could write her own and even (shock) upgrade to Powerpoint. She's an extreme example but I think that generally the idea of uni teachers doing a teaching course is a good one. I've been teaching for six and a half years now with no formal guidance whatsoever!

mark bahnisch said...

I hope it's better than the one I enrolled in in 1999 at QUT, Laura. The first session featured butcher's paper and an invitation to imagine "which animal and food you are". So I never went back.

elsewhere said...

two simply faskinating opportunities for observing human folly and generating material for future blog posts, i would say. as a past veteran of training seminars with oodles of butcher's paper, scissors, different types of glue, textas, crayons, pencils, etc. do go and fill us in! (and remind me, what was the first sentence of _the old man and the sea_ again?)

Pavlov's Cat said...

Sit in the front row and take no musical instrument. Throw yourself into (as distinct from wrapping your head up in) the butcher's paper. Regardless of the quality of the offerings, such a certificate will give you a competitive edge in what's become an insanely quantified, and always was an insanely competitive, profession. I remember being an untenured female academic in her early 30s, and it was like trying to swim across a river full of treacherous currents full of piranhas, while wearing handcuffs and tight jeans with pirate boots.

And Marrickvillia's quite right; with any luck, you will learn something useful, instead of having to teach yourself to teach on the fly, as university teachers have been doing since the dawn of time.

Lucy Tartan said...

I've been teaching for five years but I'm sure there's plenty I don't know, like why do students who get there early sit in the dark? Why doesn't one of them turn on the light? Butcher's paper is fine as long as it hasn't been used to wrap the chips. I'll be surprised if the budget runs to several different types of glue, however. And I might leave the musical instruments at home tomorrow - there's still two more days after that...

I don't know what the first line of The Old Man Etc is either. Very cute combination though.

elsewhere said...

hmm, it sounds like rather an earnest combination to me...

David said...

I found myself accidentally conversing with a creative writing student on the weekend, who said that she had been apprehensive of taking a course in case she lost the ability to do what she already knew how. The knowledge flitted through my mind that this is how I had always thought about taking drawing classes, which of course I now will never do but apparently once considered. I couldn't tell her this because it would only temper my wise message: there's no such thing as too much knowledge. I wish I knew how to teach, it would have made the last six years' teaching much easier.

Pavlov's Cat said...

The central platform of my own self-invented teaching methodology was a studious avoidance of all the things that had given me the shits when I was a student myself.

Mel said...

BAZLOTTO!!!!

David said...

That's right (I mean, to Pavlov's Cat) I for instance refused to make the students play 'getting to know you' games, because they made me feel so ill. Of course most students love that kind of thing.

Val said...

Butchers paper - SHUDDER! Very popular in library circles too. This year I celebrate my first non-attendance (due to retirement - oh happy days) at the cross campus librarians conference, where butchers paper will feature as always.

What about bringing your knitting? Don't knit? Fake it!

Ron said...

Don't forget a box of matches to help your eyelids maintain the appearance of being awake!

Zoe said...

I like to wear a cardigan with lots of little pills on it to training days. It gives a lovely satisfaction at the end of the day to have picked them all off, and at least one useful thing has been achieved.

I am getting suss about Mel and Bazlotto, WHICH I HAVE NEVER WON.

Lucy Tartan said...

She does seem to win rather often, doesn't she.