Tuesday, February 21
It had stopped snowing when I woke up but snow still lay thick on the ground. I ate my breakfast and left into the crunchy streets. I stop at the entrance to Aivanakuja and look down through the trees towards the main highway. The sun has started to rise behind the trees and the snow glistens on the bushes and trees.
I will get to work and have a completely stupid morning. Firstly I will get a mail asking me to write “instructions” to accompany the förehandsuppgift I wrote yesterday. I will have no idea what this means. Asking Fred, I will learn that the applicants will need to know what we intend to test with the förehandsuppgifter. I will point out that if we tell them what we will look for in the answers then the whole point of the test (assuming it has one in the first place) will disappear.
After forty five minutes of discussion, involving Jutta on Skype and Fred and I in the room I will agree to a statement saying that “we will look to see how you approach an apparently simple problem, and how you can then explain and reflect upon the thought processes that you used to define your approach”. I will point out that, in my opinion, if an applicant finds the task baffling then they will find the “explanation” of the task even more confusing. This, for reasons I will not understand, will apparently not matter.
After this Matteo will collar me for a long, intense conversation on the relationship between research and teaching, the failure to understand the underlying nature of quality, and the lack of purpose in much of what we do. Ah yes, I will reply; and mean it.
I will create an unnecessary thesis framework for a student who seems to have trouble grasping the fact that theses usually display a sense of structure. The framework will be a list explaining that the introduction should go at the beginning and should contain only introductory material. I will then rebook the rooms for a course in Period 4 that has had its schedule rearranged to comply with other people’s schedules. Mirko will kindly move one of his bookings in order to help move my task from the box marked impossible to the box marked barely possible. After an hour I will have all but two sessions in rooms big enough to accommodate the students.
In the afternoon I will start laying out a detailed structure for a second course that I will begin teaching soon. I will look out of the widow at the blue sky and watch the snow beginning to melt again.
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