Thursday, March 22, 2012

A lecturer rejects the idea that his is a cushy job

Continuing on the theme of repudiating the bullshit emanating from Dr Paul Mooney, I read recently an item in The Irish Times "TO BE HONEST: An unheard voice in education" column where an unnamed lecturer writes A lecturer rejects the idea that his is a cushy job. This is apparently in response to a parent who complained about her son's lecturers. This lecturer felt "both angry and embarrassed" at our profession being "impugned as a cushy number". The author goes on to tell the uninformed mother that her son and other students should "be able to learn for themselves" and that "students to work without being spoon-fed". He/she also describes the hours that go into preparing and delivering lectures, and also grading assignments and marking exams.

Image link to University of Queensland.
In my own case this semester my largest class is just short of 200 students, while my smallest is just 19. This week (a four day week) I have marked over 200 continuous assessment tests/labs, prepared for next week's classes, answered several student queries, worked on a plan for a new programme, advised a student on his project for next year, and delivered 14 hours of teaching. This is what Paul Mooney calls a "light workload".

Professor Karl Whelan, a Lecturer in Economics in UCD, also responded to Paul Mooney this week in a blog post Paul Mooney: “Inside” Third Level? - he finds it "odd that an article with such a title can provide a description that is grossly at odds with even basic facts about how universities work". He could have been reading my mind as we have both posted similar articles on this subject. He also asks the question "How can someone claiming to be an insider produce such a misleading and distorted view of what happens in universities?". Unfortunately Prof Whelan describes NCI as "somewhat grandiously-named National College of Ireland" - however, he has made amends on Twitter when I challenged him on this:
Strong feelings all around - Paul Mooney wrote that it was his hope to be "controversial". He has certainly achieved that.

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