South Park Self

I know that it's too late, and now there's nothing I can do

'Tis the season of marks release, and the angst-mark on my office wall is above head height again. I have spent the last few days dealing with a continual string of students in various stages of disintegration as a result of failed courses leading to academic exclusion, failed courses leading to not graduating, and failure to graduate despite having passed everything, and owing to having done a dismal task of checking their own registrations for compliance with degree rules. This last category is the worst. Today has been particularly notable for the following manifestations:

  • The cycling through my office for the fourth time since yesterday, with the fourth different person attached, of a non-graduating transcript, the initial student having nodded politely at my "you can't graduate and really you're responsible for screwing up your course choices" spiel, drifted off with what I took for tearful acceptance, and proceeded to lodge a grievance for unfair treatment with the faculty manager and every student body she can think of, presumably in the hopes that someone would wave a magic wand and warp reality so that she's somehow miraculously graduated. Not my favourite class of student.

  • The completely unselfconscious dissolution into tears in my office of a strapping six-foot male specimen who'd just been told that his failed course prevents his graduating and there are no loopholes. I find myself having to respect someone able to resist cultural conditioning to quite that extent.

  • The lovely child whose non-graduation she cheerfully admits is her own fault, the remedy for which she has in hand (course credits from a previous university), and the processing of which she does not actually expect us to jump around and achieve in time for graduation on Friday. Having been sweet and reasonable and on the ball, she was then tearfully grateful for my help and returned a few hours later with a rather beautiful specimen of high-range pâtisserie, a sort of small chocolate ganache tart thingy of maximum density and richness which she bestowed on me with further expressions of gratitude, and which has raised the tolerability levels of my day more than somewhat. It's gazelles of her ilk that remind me why I fundamentally like students.
In other not entirely doom-laden work news, the faculty continues to decline to treat me like an actual academic, but is also attempting to console me for same. The inscrutable processes of HR have eventually ground up and spat out a fairly substantial sop to my feelings in the form of a bump up the payclass ladder, resulting in More Money, and a concomitant reworking of my job description to enshrine a minimal but tangible amount of teaching and research as a legitimate and necessary aspect of the post's activities. Oh, and apparently I'm also now a line manager to the nice new social worker person who's joining us next year, to bring her actual psycho-social training to the aforementioned student angst. Adventures in line management coming soon to a blog post near you, probably with interestingly high-coloured language. On the whole, however, I am cautiously pleased.
  • Current Mood: pensive pensive
Thank you! It's one of those weird sort of gifts that, while actually not the thing I wanted or was hoping for, is still moderately cool. It also, for some reason, appears to be bolstering my confidence when wrangling with academic high-ups. Money. Go figure.