Monday, December 04, 2006

Sticking my neck out

OK, it's a new week, the term has ended, and there are now two and a half weeks to get a lot of work done. The thesis isn't finished, in fact the writing "proper" hasn't really started. These Michaelmas terms are always crazy and it's hard to get anything proper done. So, now it's time to get the big guns out, bar no holds, bypass all safety valves and start brewing some plus-strength coffee. And enforce some new deadlines with possible (small) public humiliation, as it is probably the only viable threat that's going to get me going.

So, Monday, and here are the things that need to be done:

- write and file supervision reports for the 6 students I had
-> the issue with these is that it's sometimes so difficult to say anything but "just fine" or "nice", even though that is the stupidest feedback you can get. Well, these will only be read by their directors of studies and are simply instrumental so that they see I've done the work I was supposed to and they can now pay me. Would be different if there'd be massive problems with one or more of the students, as I could use this channel to flag them up and get the college to act.

- write feedback for the last essays the students wrote
-> this is more important than the previous thing, as good feedback is pivotal for improving in the future.

- draft the experiment plan for another student project
-> this just needs to be put on paper so that she can get on with her writing-up and I can get on with preparing the setting and equipment.

- finalise and send out the yearly report of the research centre
-> this is ready bar one little section that needs to be copy-pasted in. Then needs to be proofread and made pretty, then the pdf-version can finally be sent out, only half a year delayed. I'm thinking of adding myself as the editor of the thing, as it has taken much more work than I thought it would.

As you can see, no research today, but I'm hoping to clear my desk today so that tomorrow I can get to real business. And there shouldn't be anything else coming up before Christmas, apart from the one article I've apparently promised to co-author, that we'll start writing next Friday and has a deadline at the end of the year. Joy to the world...

Edit 1: lunchtime. Have now submitted the reports. Will get lunch now and finish writing the feedbacks on essays. It seems to take ages to try to put my words right. How do I give constructive feedback in a positive way, especially when there are only a few hundred characters you can use. It's like doing it over an SMS... And if I say something slightly negative, would it stick out? And if I only say positive things, will that be just too bland? Where's the value of the feedback if you can't use it to improve what you are doing? Am I overtheorising this and making it more complicated than it is? Probably. At least I'm hungry now.

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