Day in the Life of an Academic #14: Teaching day

Someone asked me the other day what the job of an academic looks like. We talked about the multiple sides of academic life, and the need to balance them; about how we are never truly off, even if people outside of academy (my mother included!) seem to think that we are permanently on holidays; and about how different each term, or even each day of the week, is. For me, this variety is one of the best things of this job, and that is what I try to capture in the “Day in the Life of an Academic” posts. And because I haven’t written one in 7 months – and so much has changed since the previous one – I thought it would be fun to have another peek at one day in the life of an academic. Or rather, a day in the life of this academic.

The day featured in this blog post is Friday, 17th February 2023, which was week 4 of the term. This term, I teach 5 hours on Fridays.

5h35m: My alarm goes off. I am now working in Brighton but still living in Oxford, which usually means a 2 hours’ drive. Since I have a class at 9am, this term my the alarm goes off at this ungodly hour, every Friday.

I get up, get ready and 45 minutes later, I am heading out of the house. Today, I am packing up some whiteboard paper and pens for a class activity.

6h15m: It’s still dark when I start driving. Yet, there are already some people out there walking their dogs, jogging… I do admire their energy!

8h00m: The campus is really quiet when I arrive, which gives me the chance to take a photo of these pods. There are several of these throughout the building and across the campus. I find them really inviting, and it looks like students feel the same: they are very much in use during the day, for group meetings as well as individual work. I go to my office.

8h50m: I top-up my coffee, send some messages, and then head off to class. Today, this 2-hours workshop will include practical activities about research designs: how to choose the one right for your project, how assess the pros and cons of each, and to implement the chosen one. The whiteboard paper and pens will come in handy for this class activity.

11h00m: After the class, I head out to the common room, for breakfast. I really like this space: it’s light, airy and really welcoming. The books on the shelves are free to borrow / swap – I have picked one called “The Women at Hitler’s Table”. I did not know that Hitler employed a team of women to taste everything that he ate or drank, to check for poisoning, did you?

11h30m: Back to my office to meet a student. Then, off for lunch with a colleague and a potential PhD student. Then, back to my office to work on the second edition of the Research Methods book.

15h00m: Head out to the student centre for an event with our students that are on placement this year. On the way, I spot these seagulls perched on the parked cars. I still find it quite dissonant to see and hear seagulls on campus… And, yes, I am very happy that I left the car in a covered car park.

16h00m: Lecture. Today’s topic was interviews: When to use them, the various types, and how to set up data collection via interviews. I forgot to the take a photo of the lecture room for you: It has these huge chalkboards.

17h00m: Final teaching session of the day: another 2-hours workshop about research designs. Someone seems to have left a rubber fish behind… 🧐

19h00m: Back to my office. I sort out some admin issues related to the teaching (e.g., update attendance records, upload revised slide set), then switch off everything and leave. But, first, I stop by the common room to get some tea for the journey home.

21h15m: I arrive back home and have dinner. I mean to go to bed early, but I end up spending a lot of time browsing the Converse website, instead! 😩

Do your workdays vary a lot, too, or do they tend to be fairly similar? And do you like variety in your days?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s