Another new academic year beckons and a lot of things are changing. Teaching hasn't begun yet, but I've just started doing a PG Cert in academic practice at one of the places I teach at. So far it has been great, although I fear it may take up more time than I originally envisaged. Still, I'm not paying the fees (employer funded), plus it will be interesting and also necessary for the future under the current policy requirements, so I'm definitely not complaining.
It's been really interesting meeting people from various colleges and courses. Everyone seems really enthusiastic about what they do, which is extremely refreshing compared to other scenarios I've found myself in over the past year. We had the first set of workshops this month and I met a lot of very nice people, although there did seem to be a lot of slightly frantic (desperate?) networking going on too. I think a lot were sessional staff which is fairly standard in this sector, but the current changes in higher education are creating a more unsettling environment with a gradually decreasing number of permanent jobs, so it's an unknown future ahead for most of us. I suppose a number of people on the course are competing with each other for a shrinking number of teaching hours within their subject areas - positively shrivelling actually, shrinking sounds far too sedate. Despite this, I've become quite excited about what I do and I'm looking forward to getting on with it all to see where it takes me.
I've become interested in gardening again too. I neglected my plants horribly during my PhD and most of them died. How much effort does it take to water a plant, eh? Obviously far too much effort for me back then. That's what the doctoral process does to you - shocking. Still, I've resurrected the plucky survivors and got some new ones and I'm very fond of all of them now. Crocus is a great online plant site I was recommended, very well packed orders, efficiently delivered and a really interesting range of plants to choose from. A lovely and uplifting sight after a hard day's work in a noisy, airless office.