bluefluff's blue fluff

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Not really Wednesday

Despite what it says at the top of my posting, in my head it simply isn't Wednesday. Until I've made a token effort at sleeping, it's still Tuesday. So which is right? The objective, 'scientific' recording of the passage of time, or somebody's subjective, experience-based perception of time? In one sense, time is a human construct, something that lets us chop experience up into neatly-labelled chunks in an attempt to make sense of it & give ourselves an illusion of control, so my version of it is as valid as anyone else's. But in another sense there's Time with a capital T, out there & requiring some kind of consensus - the kind of Time about which a colleague of mine once remarked, probably not originally, that it's "nature's way of making sure everything doesn't happen at once". That sort doesn't really allow for individual interpretation, does it? If the rest of the world agrees that it's Wednesday, then it would be arrogant of me to disagree, & I don't really do arrogant.
I do brandied pseudo-intellectual ramblings, though :-)

Chocolate Quiz

Thanks to Kat for this:-)

You are Milk Chocolate
A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.
You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.
Also nostelgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.

Try it yourself:-)

Monday, August 29, 2005

It's been a while...

Went on holiday to Denmark & then spent a week catching up with life (well, work).

I'm intrigued by people's priorities after they've been away for a while. In my case, these were, in order, 1. the two teenage children who'd stayed at home during the holiday, one of whom is shortly off to uni for the first time; 2. looking after my students who'd been tutorless for a couple of weeks; 3. catching up with my online friends in the OU conferences; 4. Doing Something about the course I'm supposed to be studying - like, um, actually studying it; 5. Thinking about future work, as I'm due to start tutoring a new course next month & helping out with briefing the tutors (somebody, somewhere, obviously thinks I know what I'm talking about. I wish I shared their confidence.); 6. national & international news (strange how the BBC news pages are compulsive reading for 50 weeks of the year, then totally cease to matter for a fortnight. Still, Danish teletext kept us up to date with all the important stuff, like football & Madonna falling off a horse.); 7. Ah yes, the blogosphere - wonder if it's still there?

Some people (well, OK, two that I've noticed. My circle is not wide) dash to their blog after an absence, to inform the world of their doings. Me, I dashed to FirstClass (the OU system). One of my bosses (you get lots of bosses in the OU) remarked a couple of years ago that my opinions about life online should be discounted, since I was a FirstClass addict. (This is distinct, you understand, from being a "first class addict", though there are senses in which that might apply, too.)I think he was probably right, & I'm sure it skews my perception of things.

Well down the list is sleep - nevertheless, it may be time to re-acquaint myself.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

On the trail again

Just been doing a little late night spamming. The following message has gone to several OU Tutors conferences.........
This site aims to set out, as simply as possible, recent events relating to pay negotiations between the AUT local branch and the Open University management which have spurred Associate Lecturers - a fiercely independent, individualistic, geographically scattered and hitherto relatively isolated group - to organise this campaign.

Links will take you to a more in-depth treatment of the issues and a summary of the sequence of events that led to an historic mobilisation of Associate Lecturers to stop the gradual de-skilling and downgrading of our role, and to demand recognition from both the union and the university of our position as teaching academics with a vital role in the OU’s declared commitment to deliver good quality higher education.

(Not my text, but says it quite well!)

Haven't been "active" since daughter #2 was about two (she's at uni now) & I was running an election day committee room LOL Forgot how much fun it is!! Probably just as well that I'm clearing off for a couple of weeks before I get into trouble.

But seriously, it is a cause that matters.

Here's the "personal story in 200 words" I wrote in response to the campaign:

I’ve been a level 1 OU tutor, mainly in Arts, for almost 27 years, combining an academic career with raising four children. When I started out, all my students were older than me! I found it so much more rewarding to work with enthusiastic adults than youngsters who seemed to be at university for no particular reason except that it was there, and I gradually became hooked on the OU. I’ve learned at least as much as I’ve taught. Most of my friends now are OUers – colleagues and ex-students – and more recently, working online has opened up a wonderful community of like-minded people.

I'm saddened, though, by the way my role and responsibilities have been gradually eroded by a succession of "new improved" contracts. I used to stay with "my" students throughout their time with the OU, tutoring them as new entrants and remaining their counsellor through to graduation. There was a real sense of continuity, with a personal touch that's hard to retain now that I'm the family's main earner and have to pile one contract on top of another to keep the cashflow going. Being a full-time part-timer is hard work, but I still love the OU!

Yes, it's nearly 5am & I should be asleep, but there are battles to fight..........