Back to School….

It’s a Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom but not here in Ireland; we had our August Bank Holiday at the start of the month. In fact this week sees school students of various ages returning to the classroom. That reminded me of this, from last year:

On my way back from the shops just now I passed a group of boys who were obviously going home after their first day back at school. Their uniforms look very new and in pristine condition. I bet that won’t last.

Three weeks today, on September 20th, we are supposed to start teaching returning students; first years won’t start until 27th September. I wish I could say I was optimistic about this. With Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations climbing it feels very much like it did at this time last year. Nevertheless the powers that be are insisting that we proceed with full lecture theatres without social distancing, with mask wearing not mandatory and with no vaccine certificates. Students can crowd into lecture theatres and rub shoulders with others for an hour, but to use the Student Union bar they have to show a vaccine certificate. This seems to me to be madness. I hope I’m proved wrong but I give it two weeks maximum until we’re forced to revert to online teaching yet again.

In the Department of Theoretical Physics I have a particular headache to deal with on top of this. One of the three temporary lecturers we have appointed this year was supposed to start on 23rd August but he hasn’t got a visa yet. I have therefore to plan on him not being able to arrive in time for the start of teaching. It’s not unusual at this time of year to be wondering how many students are going to be with us at the start of term, but this year we have the additional worry about how many staff we’re going to have available to teach them.

And on a personal level I am hoping for my belongings to arrive sometime this week, although I am yet to have this confirmed and to be given the precise date and time. If the delivery is postponed doesn’t happen before the end of September it’s going to be very difficult, as I will probably be teaching every day from September 20th until Christmas.

Waiting for things to happen that are outside your control is a major cause of stress, but please don’t tell anyone I’m feeling stressed or I’ll be forced to attend a resilience webinar. I think I’d rather resort to the remedies on offer in the picture…

4 Responses to “Back to School….”

  1. Damon Hart-Davis Says:

    Indeed bank holiday in sunny London today, but primary I am a governor at is back Thursday, and my 2 kids at secondary on Friday.

    I kinda hope that in your department you could cope with a superposition of temporary lecturer there and not there and plan stochastically! %-P

    Rgds

    Damon

  2. Indeed bank holiday in sunny London today, but the primary that I am a governor at is back Thursday, and my 2 kids are back at secondary on Friday.

    I kinda hope that in your department you could cope with a superposition of temporary lecturer there and not there and plan stochastically! %-P

    Rgds

    Damon

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Tell the chap without a visa that as he is being paid (yes?) he should lecture online until his arrival?

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