“Are you on holiday now?”

Queen Victoria is said to have enjoyed this description from Guiseppe in the Gondoliers of what a democratised royalty would have to do.

A busy day, with some lunacy, but not unpleasant overall.

There is no moan in this post, no link to the UCU workload survey, just an account here of what happens when the students are gone. I don’t think it’s an out-of-the-ordinary account, but it is here to give people an insight as to what the elves do when the shoemakers are asleep.

I get in (because not teaching) at about 9:00 if I have no earlier meeting. Work-related social media may well have happened on the bus, if I had signal.

Coffee follows at some point – usually at my desk.

A wander round to see anyone I need to see informally. This can be a five-minute chat or (as today) an hour of fielding issues.

Emails. One is from a student who can’t decide her module choices for next semester; several are in preparation for a meeting tomorrow; lots are from students whose results came out on Monday – and gratifyingly some are from graduating students saying thank you; two are admissions queries.

A meeting about a student with progression issues.

More coffee – usually socially, but dealing with work issues as we drink.

A meeting about revalidation paperwork – interrupted by a ‘phone call around student transfer.

Lunch: 30 mins. Again, work-related conservation.

Paperwork time: composing/restructuring course materials following the recent revalidation. Another two calls about student progression and transfer; a colleague drops by to discuss a staffing issue.

Emails. See above. Another colleague drops by about her contract.

A meeting (and some phone calls) about course materials, as above, as the Education Studies coordinators check and rewrite my proposals and their own resources.

3:30 is a scheduled meeting with a colleague about a joint paper. A quick nod at a work colleague while en route turns into a corridor meeting, and I arrive in the library at 3:40. We work until 5:55.

Emails on the bus on the way home.

and then “With a pleasure that’s emphatic/We retire to our attic/With the gratifying feeling that our duty has been done.”

Now, we might argue that a better organisation might make a better day – but this is not that post. Here, in part at least, is what happens when the students are not around.

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