Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May 2006 And All That

Oooh I'm quite pissed off.
Today has been filled with alternately Good and Bad Things.

My day began with a swim, which was a Good Thing, but I was tired and couldn't be arsed to do as much as usual and that was obviously the shape of things to come.

In fact, no, my day didn't begin with a swim. That came after getting up with LG, getting her ready for school and shoving her out of the door without saying goodbye encouraging her to go all the way to school by herself for the first time. After my earlier musings on this subject, I've decided she really does need to be more independent in the very safe and familiar context of the 5 minute walk to school - to be confident and know that she can do it; she got into a real panic at the weekend at the suggestion that she might go to the corner shop for us by herself, although she's done so before.

It is such a cliche, but I genuinely felt like the mother-bird pushing the fledgling out of the nest to learn to fly. No, I didn't shove her out and of course I did say goodbye (though this doesn't entirely cohere with her account of things - she did milk it a bit) but I had to suppress twinges of conscience, concern, remorse whilst swimming my (not so many as usual) lengths.

Out of the swimming pool - Trac couldn't meet me for coffee, ptb - into my favourite charity shop. PTB - they are closing down! Will I manage to keep the swimming up without the incentive of the CS afterwards? They hope to be moving into premises around the corner, but don't yet know for sure. This is a Very Bad Thing.

Could things get any worse?

Actually, then things got better. I sashayed (is that how its spelt? wasn't in my dictionary, but I'm sure it can't be sacheted) into our local Clarks factory shop, and came away with 4 pairs of summer shoes for £45. Not bad eh? Actually, no, a Good Thing.

More shopping for LG (more black clothing, black trousers, black pajamas - but all in Primark, so for next to nothing) (which can't be ethical shopping, so then I felt very guilty, cheap clothes, a bit like cheap flights = A Bad Thing) and then back home.

Chatted on MSN with Lucy, which was a Good Thing and Cheered Me Up.

Marked some essays. Bad, Bad, Bad.
A student who plagiarised not only once but twice for me last year - and a third year student, no less - has obviously been given a 3rd chance to retrieve/complete the course this year. She has submitted another essay, and this is also plagiarised. Taken mostly verbatim from an article on the web which I found in about 5 seconds with Google's help. Either she thinks I am very stupid, or else she herself clearly doesn't have the intellectual capacity to merit any kind of degree. I was well pissed off, you can be sure! (if you weren't already sure)

Almost all our courses now have to have an exam included in the assessment, specifically to try and prevent plagiarism. However students will, instead, hide notes in the toilet, try to listen to concealed tapes, even write notes on their leg - not in my personal experience, but this has all happened recently in our own department in the university. Maybe we should be strip-searching them all before exams? But I don't think that would be a Good Thing.

We're also currently involved in industrial action and formally boycotting assessment procedures. This means that I didn't invigilate an exam I would have been in this morning. This meant that I forgot all about a meeting I should have been at in the afternoon. Ptb. Its a routine committee (yawn) so might be considered A Good Thing to have missed it, but I've missed the last couple and will miss the next one because its during half-term. Which makes this a Bad Thing. Feeling guilty again.

The assessment boycott means that we aren't participating in any assessment procedures. Any marking I might be doing in the privacy of my own home, to avoid a back-log building up, is purely a theoretical possibility - though if I were involved in such an exercise, I wouldn't, of course, be giving grades to students or to the university.

I hope to goodness the dispute is over in time for exam boards etc. etc. so that students aren't prevented from receiving their results or graduating. That would be a Very Very Bad Thing. Worried and guilty again.

There is, however, a good case for the action. Salaries have scarcely - and not always - kept up with inflation over the last 10-15 years, despite very significant increases in workload. And the management who have been refusing to talk with the unions recently gave themselves a 25% raise. Don't put your daughter into education, Mrs. Worthington.

2 of the other 3 essays I marked were pretty crappy too.

LG came home from school in reasonably good spirits. But her teacher is putting lots of pressure on about next weeks SATS, expects everyone on her table to get level 5s, tells them all the time how important these tests are to them, to us (parents) to everyone. Despite us telling her that this is all bollocks, she does worry. So he pisses me off a good deal too. She should have had gym today, but has missed it for weeks because of practising for tests.
Cross, cross, cross.

We were relaxing in the garden in the sunshine, me with the final crappy essay of the day, her with an Asterix omnibus I got in the charity shop (A Good Thing) when M. came home. And gave us a hard time for not having our mobile phones in the garden, so that LG hadn't seen the text message he sent her. Pissed off again. He did apologise later, but thats not the bloody point.

I then discovered that slugs have decimated the helenium which was part of a birthday gift from my parents last year, which I love, and which should be looking like this in September.

but which probably wont now.

I hate them (slugs, obviously, not helenium, birthday gifts or parents).

Here are some I found earlier.
They were at least 2 inches long (each) and utterly loathesome.

But - there are some lovely lovely things in my garden at the moment, and I shall put some pictures of them here, to try and inject a cheery note into this post at the last minute, lest you never darken the towel door of my blog again. I hope its not too late.

The apple blossom smells absolutely exquisitely delicious.


Kitty said...

Pretty flowers. You know, on balance your day was definitely good it just doesn't seem like that cos you haven't had any alcohol for 24 hours.

I email someone who used to work with Jay and he was moaning about academia like you. He made me laugh though cos he said they are under such pressure regarding anonymous marking that they were thinking of buying in a job lot of paper bags to put over students heads so they couldn't be identified when they gave oral presentations. Perhaps you could try that? Plastic ones might be better.

He also says that the students on his Masters course are so thick these days that they struggle to write anything meaningful at all and even manage to bodge up stuff they plagiarise and presumably copy and paste straight off the web.

I think he thinks that is the fault of us school teachers!!

What a long ramble. Sorry!

Hope tomorrow is better.

ramblingwoman said...

your garden, sob, looks, sob, wonderful, sob, is that, sob, sweet rocket? sob sob.

Listen, you got four pairs of shoes and the sun shone! That's a good day!

I'll speak to you on MSN about the other stuff....

Bird said...

try the above blog for a discussion on plagiarism.

i have been fortunate this semester - no plagiarism, but last fall - oh heavens! - left and right it seemed - entire essays plagiarized, not just passages or lines. and i too get so annoyed - do plagiarizing students think i'm a complete dolt - that I can't google just as they do to find these essays they rip off? argh.

love your garden.

enjoyed your post.

lettuce said...

well, yes, it was a fairly good day overall. Just needed a bit of a moan... sorry... LOVE the plastic bag idea.

Yes, this particular plagiarism was pretty botched in places! Grrrrr.

I shall smell the apple blossom at the start of the day, today, just to get me off on the right foot.

lettuce said...

Oh no! just been in the garden smelling apple blossom, and discovered that my Albertine rambling rose, which should be covered with masses of buds by now, has been devastated by greenfly.....

bloody Nature!

Calamity Tat said...

Only strip search if they look like DT, if not leave well alone... Bloody mobiles! don't have one myself and I can almost smell those flowers.... Cheer up chicken.....

euro-trac said...


What charity shop is closing!

It's not my fave one is it?

It is, isn't it?

You know, the one...

The one you have a good rummage through...

It's that one isn't it!

The one opposite the lighting shop!

PT'n'bloody B!

I'm going to look at Kingadillo to cheer me up!

PTB to charity shops closing!!

What's going to go there in it's place?

Another bloody coffee shop?

Never thought I'd moan about too many coffee shops in Woolwich!

Ooooh - I'm having a rant in your comments box!


I need to give up CS's anyway... I need to get rid of junk, not buy more!

Good shoes!

I'm going now..

Bye then!

No, really, I must go!


grumpy old woman said...

Well, I hope you're having a FAB day today (Thursday).

I've had to do a huge catch up of people's blogs in this lunch break so that's why I'm going to respond to pg's "nerdy record alert" so long after she posted it:

Yes, pg, "Bike" is on Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It was then included on Relics - which is a compilation of Floyd stuff from 67, 68, 69 & 71. Nerdy record reference now over.

Donna said...

4 pairs of shoes for £45? That is SUCH a Good Thing that it negates all Bad Things in my book :-)

Kitty said...

Where are you today anyway? Trying to wear your new shoes out?

Molly Bloom said...

A good old rant is always good for the heart. That's what I say.

How stupid must that student be for plagiarising three times?? How mad! It makes a mockery of the system doesn't it. What makes me angry is that there are so many people out there who would love to be able to get to university and have the chance to shine, but they never do because they don't have rich parents to pay their fees.

Oooh, industrial action - good on you Lettuce! I love a bit of roasting your fingers over the brazier outside the school any chestnuts anyone?

Tracie B. said...

enough about shoes, let's talk about shoes!

Jay said...

Those slugs sent chills up my spine.

Bird said...

someone please inform this idiot yank - what does "PTB" stand for?

grumpy old woman said...

Oh, and how wonderfully decadent to buy FOUR pairs of shoes in one go!