Tag Archives: work

M&M

Dedicated to two of my very special colleagues:

M1’s young in head,
though no longer a boy
but he’ll still run to daddy
when he wants a new toy.
This week what he wants
is a badge and a whistle
to show that his role
is prop’ly official.
Given his druthers, he’d
dress the students in brown
and have them salute him out
on the parade ground.

M2’s old in heart,
(though not in tooth long)
in style he’s sans dance
and also sans song.
He’s not here to lead,
and he’s not here to manage,
he’s just here to stand by
and point out the damage.
It’s above his pay grade
(so he lets us know)
to do any work
(though he’s an aspro).

 

Aspro = associate professor. In Australia we use the British system: tutor, lecturer, senior lecturer, aspro, professor.  So an aspro in Aus is quite senior, not like an American assistant professor which is roughly a tutor. 

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pastoral care with Hopefully

Written for the dVerse MTB/Poetry form prompt “The eleventh power“: 11 syllables per line, 11 lines, rhyme pattern abababccddd or ababababccc. 

And written because I’ve been wanting to write something about Hopefully. 

Hopefully is a red corduroy dinosaur that came from the same rubbish tip shop that my office couch came from – so I figure he belongs with the couch. He looks handmade, with no tag and with odd details (for a reptile) like a belly button. He seems the sort of dinosaur that should have been loved, and I wonder how he ended up at the tip. When I brought him home my husband named him Nobody Saurus but I prefer Hopefully Nobodysaurus. He now lives in my office and helps me with pastoral care of students (young adults) which is the hardest part of my job. 

 

Made with love and to be loved, Hopefully lives
on the red leather couch in the corner there
where his presence contributes to calmness, gives
a touch of whimsy, of family, of care
for whoever sits to have their problems sieved
while I sit opposite in the old wood chair.
Then, tears dried, and plans in place, solution
decided, and so we reach a conclusion.
Then, I sit on the couch and give Hopefully
the hug that they needed, and so, truthfully,
do I, as the next comes knocking woefully.

 

 

 

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success couching (redux+)

This is a re-post from a year ago, with an update…

We’ll get us a success coach
to train up our success
he’ll pump us up with slogans
until we are the bestest.
He’ll elevate our excellence
right up to the sky!
And as the gas comes whooshing out
our excellence will fly! Continue reading

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Filed under musings, poem

a little empty space

This is written for the Tuesday dVerse prompt “women are people: invoking Amrita Pritam“. Thanks for a great prompt Punam, and especially for introducing me to Amrita Pritam’s work. 

I chose as my jumping off point her line from empty space:Look further on ahead, there between truth and falsehood, a little empty space.” 

What if I wrapped up my truth
in academic verbosity,
called it auto-ethnography,
and submitted it for your review?
Would it still get a rejection
on the grounds of misperceptions?
What if I edited it carefully,
removed the tell-tale markers
like all those excess hedges
and threw in more self-mentions?
Would it still require your corrections?

I never knew there was a line,
between your truth and mine,
until you showed it to me.
But I still don’t see why one side has to be
true and the other false.
Can’t we just blur out the line,
and allow a space between to meet
where no one has to be at fault?

 

I’ve had rants before about being a woman in physics/engineering, and how patronising colleagues can be – how they are (at best) oblivious to, or (worse) blatantly denying of the lived experiences of those who are not (middle-aged+ white) males.  So I won’t start another one of those.
But here is an interesting bit of research from one of my PhD students: there are quantifiable differences in the way (senior) men and women write in science, despite the
very strong genre conventions.  For example, women use more hedges (an explicitly taught genre norm) and more engagement markers, men use more boosters and self-mentions (despite these being officially frowned on in science). The differences are largest in physics… surprise, surprise.   

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scheduling cats

I was sitting in my room when one of my sons walked past the door and asked if I was writing a poem. I said “no”. He said “write one about your day, they’re usually funny”. Well, I spent my day chasing late timetabling forms (almost half of them) and querying ones that didn’t make sense (about a third). So not a good basis for a poem. But, here it is anyway.   

 

Herding cats
is not my calling,
but it seems again that
it is to me that job is falling!
Am I really asking for that much?
I just want clarity on what you need
for your lectures, tutes and labs and such,
and so it pains me when on your form I read,
that you want lab weekly for zero times two hours,
well, I’m handy at arithmetic, and so, numerically, I assume
that you want nothing – a welcome change, and within my powers,
until I read further and discover that you’ve requested a specific room…
I cannot help but think there must be some mistake here,
Perhaps this is a typo, you hit zero instead of one?
Although on the keyboard they are hardly near
pondering the keyboard, a conclusion comes
you must mean nine times two hours lab,
well, I can schedule that in for you,
oh, your timetable will be fab!
Now, tutes – twenty-two?

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what I wanted to say…

…in my Friday and weekend emails and “chats” to the 10% of my colleagues who cause 90% of the problems because they either ignore the grade submission deadline, discover they don’t know how to use the system until after the deadline and expect help on the weekend, or are just too bloody ODD to do anything properly and on time without having to be asked five times and then argue about it:  

 

I’m the parent that’s less fun

(the one that makes you brush your teeth)

I’m the teacher that’s more mean

(the one that won’t let you in the lab barefoot)

I’m the director that sends the angry emails

(the one that makes sure marks come in)

 

Or here’s another way of looking at it,

I’m the one that:

keeps the kids healthy,

the students safe,

and makes sure the system works.

 

Did you ever think that maybe I get tired of

     being the grown up?

     being the responsible one?

     being the bad guy?

and would like to not give a shit about

dental costs,

legal liability and

graduations,

either?

 

Did you ever stop to think that if you

JUST

DO

YOUR

FUCKING

JOB

then I won’t have to be the bad guy?

 

Let’s do the experiment and see what happens.

 

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cog, oil, spanner?

Are you happy to be
a brick in the wall?
That would be dull, but,
at worst you could fall.
Or would you rather be,
a cog in the machine,
going round and round.
A repeating scene.
Or what about
the oil that’s flowing,
between the cogs,
to keep it all going?
Or the fuel being burnt,
down in the furnace,
sure that your sacrifice
serves a great purpose?

What other choices
does the machine proffer?

A sabot or a spanner,
are still there on offer.

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facing the panel

For the dVerse quadrille prompt “stand”:

My mistake, I stand corrected…
Well, no, not stand,
I sit dejected.
In fact, I’m prone,
as I’m being vivisected.

Go on, use your scalpel,
dig in deep with that probe,
see what you unravel.
Am I role model or martyr?
Or cautionary example?

A quadrille is exactly 44 words, and it must include the prompt word or a variation thereon, in this case “stand”. 

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in the company of women

We slip from the buildings in ones and twos,
heels clicking across the carpark,
or stepping more quietly in flats.
Slipping away – not quite clandestinely,
but nonetheless with a sense of escape. Continue reading

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integrity (extended version)

This is an extended version of Integrity, based even more closely on Macavity (Eliot, 1939).  

Integrity’s the missing value: I’m told it is assumed
that it’s a value we all share, or so it is presumed.
So it’s a bafflement when Turnitin raises flags in red,
and when we check for plagiarism – Integrity is dead! Continue reading

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