Well, since I last posted here over a year ago quite a lot has changed. Firstly I have had another child (another beautiful baby girl) and so have been in the midst of all the wonderment, love and complete and utter exhaustion that comes with every new life.
The second thing is moving job. I left Bangor University after nearly 8 years and I am now at the University of Sheffield, so I have also technically changed country from Wales to England! I have also moved disciple. At Bangor I was part of the Media School but now I am located in the School of East Asian Studies. This move has come with its own unique challenges. The first is the general stress related to a new job, new house, new city with the added addition of a new baby. Although it has worked out well (so far!) I would not recommend to anyone who is considering it doing what are apparently three of the most stressful things to do in your life all inside five months whilst recovering from a c-section with a three-year-old toddler in tow. The process has been rather stressful and the whole family is still in flux as we find our feet in our new environment.
I had forgotten the stress that a new job entails. You have to learn not just all the practical elements (new systems, new organisational structures, where rooms are etc) but also manage the new expectations that are present when you first arrive. Clearly I am no longer a junior staff member and, as such, you are I think expected to hit the ground running far more than when you were fresh out of your PhD. By the same extension you don’t feel the burden that newly minted lecturers often have to say yes to everything you are asked. You are a more aware of what ‘simple’ tasks can actually entail if you take them on. That is not to say you don’t say yes, but you do try to negotiate more!
The main stress comes from getting to know new colleagues and more particularly new students. I knew pretty much all the students in my Bangor department by sight at least, now I have to learn hundreds of new faces and names. I am someone who really enjoys having a good and collegial relationship with my students. The feeling of a good connection to a class and/or a year group is one of the best things about this job but it does take time to develop. This semester I have had a new module East Asian Cinema and I very luckily have had a teaching assistant. This is wonderful in someways but for me has hindered developing that sense of connection I like to have when I teach. The seminars, that usual period where you really get to know them have been conducted by someone else. I don’t usually teach lecture/seminar instead I prefer to run more interactional workshops and I have remembered why this term. The TA has been great but I actually look forward to retuning to my usual workshop format next semester when I hope I will start to get to know my classes better as a result!
There have been loads of academic projects that have been finished, started and developed over the last year and I have decided to give each one a separate page. This is a much to keep them clear in my own head! An early New Year Resolution is to post here once a month so we shall see how that goes but I am feeling confident that I will be able to keep to it! We shall see how it goes but readers are free to tweet me reminders if I don’t manage it!