Monday, October 09, 2006

Lectures of Doom

This weekend, aside from scaring my boss by turning up 20 minutes later than I'd said for the open day (they wouldn't let me park in the Uni which ballsed up my ETA), I seemed to have little time to myself with a combination of blocked drains (again), parties, shopping for Monday and fencing. However I started fencing epee, as I figure I should get points for all those off-target hits I accrue with foil. Discovered when a person undergoes 4 hours of fencing without a drink it is not a good idea. Discovered when a person undergoes 4 hours of drinking with a drink it is not a good idea, neither is deciding to push another chap's car home when he is both sobre and has enough petrol to get home on his own.

And now on with our star attraction

The Four Lectures of Doom

In which our hero gives four lectures... of doom.

Lecture 1, which could've gone better - I slept into 8:30 this morning as I set the alarm for 8pm tonight. I charged across Victoria Park in a manner not too dissimilar from Lancelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and burst into the lecture hall at 9:25am, somehow five minutes early. Also there was quite a bit of admin but one of the lecturers was on hand to handle this. This gave me a time to clean up and drink something with caffeine in it. The lecture ran under time, but it seemed to go okay, and most of the students would be back for Lecture 3 in two hours time.

In between Lecture 1 and 2 I had the luxury of a one-hour break, where I went back to the office and eventually reminded B. to open up the office for the students at 11am. He did so, but rather than manning the desk we have practically contractually bound him to man, he went back to work. Feeling somewhat disgusted I left our part-time TA and went downstairs to have a glass of water before I ran off to...

Lecture 2, which could've gone better - I ran out of material after 30 minutes. Fortunately years of appearing to sit on my backside guzzling pizza and fizzy drinks while claiming to be roleplaying have taught me how to wing things when they don't go to plan, so I improvised enough question and answer stuff that I essentially gave the lecture twice and used the full lecture slot. This meant I was barely on time for...

Lecture 3, which could've gone better - the students could've turned up. Only seven or so, who'd been at Lecture 1 and were actually in our department, were in the theatre. Add to that the lecturer who normally does the first five minutes of admin was out of his office and not in my lecture and I began to slowly suspect I'd been told the wrong room. Nonetheless, after I checked all the lecture halls for lecturerless lectures (trying saying that fast sportsfans) I decided to email the boss and carry on with the lecture. The worst that could happen was that I'd discover, through no fault of my own, I'd been directed to the wrong room.

What it turned out was that the lecturer was busy moving house and thought I could handle things, and that the remaining 40 or so students from the Management Department had only been told about our labs, not our lectures. The upshot is I offered to repeat the lecture next week for these wayward souls. I really am too nice for my own good.

Also, the twenty or so minutes I waited for the missing 90% of my class to turn up meant I wound up running over the 5 minute margin to get to other classes, and running into our part-time TA, who was upset because B. had told him to shut up when he was chatting about work with A. in the office. All these factors meant I was a couple of minutes late for...

Lecture 4 - which could've gone better, but only in that I could've not been the last person in the lecture hall. By the time I got to the building I was practically sweating blood as I passed Claudia in the corridor. However I made it in time to prevent the old Glasgow University phantom lecture rule from taking its toll on my first day and using the same improv technique and trying to get the audience to participate meant I easily filled my slot and I think most of the students understood what a function was.

It was 2:30pm. I was hungry. I was tired. But I was through my first day of lecturing, and never again would I have to do 4 lectures in one day. Next week it would only be 2... no make that 3. Yippee.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Dr Stu on getting through the first round of your eminent and prestigious lecture series with your dignity intact.

I predict that this is the start of great things for you, sonny jim.

Stuart said...

Why thank you Dr. Kydd of that prestigious academic establishment known as Dundee High School.