Back in the classroom

So here we are again. It’s the end of September and in universities across the country staff are welcoming new students. I have just spent three days in London in various meetings and they all in some way required me to think about what we teach, how, why… my head is full of that strategic, high level, sometimes theoretical, sometimes just jumping through hoops stuff that I guess is now my job. It’s been interesting, it’s been intense and it’s been fun and as always after these sorts of meetings I am knackered. And yet, as I head back north there is an underlying excitement about the coming week. It took my a while to figure out what it was but now I have it: I’ll be teaching next week. I am excited about teaching! I can’t wait to get back in the classroom. This excitement started to build on Monday evening, just a little bit. I was giving the induction lecture to the new first years on Tuesday morning and on Monday I was getting exctied, on Tuesday I was buzzing. The hour in the lecture theatre on Tuesday was, it seemed at the time, everything I had been working for over the summer. They were here, the first years were here and I could fire the starting pistol for the journeys that can change their lives – that could change the world. Wow.
On Wednesday I took one of the tutorial groups for our sample/intro tutorial and personal tutor meet. Again I was excited and again the experience didn’t disappoint. It was a small group and we sat and chatted about so many of the things that matter to me – law, justice, morality, legal education, making a difference. I can whinge about students as much as the next academic but let’s not forget that we can learn so much from them, that if we encourage them to engage with us, we will be better for it. So, induction is over. I have my first EU Law lecture on Tuesday – I’ll be telling stories about EU citizenship (just in case anyone cares) and I can’t wait. Am I nervours? Hell yes, I will be walking into a lecture theatre with 100+ students and I’ll be putting my views, my research, my knowledge on the line. I’ll be performing and performances can go horribly wrong but I will have fun; and I will learn something and the more I think about it, the more I cannot imagine an academic career without teaching. That’s not an option for me, I need to be in the classroom, thats where I can see my vision, ambitions, hopes and dreams come true; it’s where I make a difference and it’s where I can re-charge my batteries and my sense of humour to help me deal with all the other rubbish being a manager in the HE sector can throw at you. So, I may be Head of School, but I have no intention of shifting all of my teaching – that’s just not me!

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