I have to admit, that I have been a bad blogger. I haven’t updated in months, and I haven’t updated serious research content in longer. Which is one of those terrible no-nos of social media.

I am the first to admit that I have probably taken on too much work in the last month or two. When the first Teaching Assistant position came up (12 hrs, £11.60 an hour) I thought – “I can do that – it’ll look great on my CV!”

So from January I was helping out in the 2nd year undergraduate core-course Research and Presentation Skills. This has been a fantastic experience for me, as I have had the chance to help guide groups in the seminars, do a little teaching and do some marking in a secure learning environment. The lecturer running the course has been fantastically supportive, really interested in helping me and the other TA get the most from the experience. The students have been really bright, engaged, and sometimes challenging.

When I saw another advert for a TA position, this one for the 1st year optional undergraduate course Roman archaeology I jumped at it. Again flat-contract, this time of 8hrs, but it looks like that will be extended as due to lecturer illness I and the other TA took the last week’s lecture.

In additon, last week I also gave the archaeometallurgy lecture of this year’s new MA -level course on Experimental Archaeology, which was a real honour and a fantastic work-out for the brain-cells. Again some great students, and some great debate at the end of the class.

It should also be remembered that my upgrade – where you have to demonstrate you can move from an MPhil to a PhD – is scheduled for May. That means a 15,000 word document, 30 min presentation and mini-viva-style grilling that I need to pass.

I’ve learnt a lot over the last couple of months of teaching, which probably deserves a post of its own, but I think last week demonstrated very clearly that it’s very easy to take on too much work!

To be fair, six hours teaching in one week probably doesn’t seem like too much. I’m sure many lecturers undertake much more. But I also know a lot of lecturers who just wing-it when it comes to lesson preparation, and I’m not one of those. I really care about what I teach, and I just don’t have the raw experience to be able to pull a two-hour MA level lecture out of the bag. So I have to put in days of work for just a couple of hours of lecture. Which has meant that everything else – including the dreaded upgrade – has fallen behind.

I also have only myself to blame, having worked to get these TA positions and the chance to teach. It’s not even like I should have said “no” to anything!

The poor old blog has suffered the most – at least the upgrade has seen some work – but hopefully now that the teaching has largely finished I will have a little bit of time to write here. But for now, I should get back to the grind. Tonight I have a pile of marking to look forwards to!


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