'Never too young to teach' - official

September 17, 2009

Speaking to a mass rally of the 2,469 postgraduates who will be teaching undergraduate courses at the University of Poppleton in the coming term, our Director of Curriculum Development, Janet Fluellen, issued a strong caution against ageism.

"It is perfectly understandable that some of you may feel inhibited by the fact that you will not only be teaching for the very first time, but also teaching people of practically your own age, and also teaching courses in which you have little real expertise, and also doing so without adequate preparation time and at a fraction of the salaries earned by real academics, and also doing so in front of students who were expecting to be taught by the people named in the prospectus, and also labouring away in departments that will otherwise largely ignore your existence.

"But you should regard all these factors as challenges to overcome. Teaching is an ancient and noble profession, and the fact that no grown-up academic worth their salt would touch it with a bargepole if they had their own way is frankly neither here nor there."

A university spokesperson subsequently confirmed that 42 first-year students had been ejected from the rally for posing as student teachers.

Sitting targets

"It's nothing more than a logical extension of existing practice." This was the claim made by our Deputy Head of Student Experience, Nancy Harbinger, as she unveiled plans to award students who attend seminars extra marks for deportment.

Speaking to our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), she explained that Poppleton already followed the "excellent example" of departments in the universities of Northampton, Glasgow, Kent and Heriot-Watt by awarding extra marks for seminar attendance.

"But in our opinion," she continued, "this does not go far enough. Our new scheme will provide an additional 5 per cent mark for students who sit up straight and face forward. This is fundamentally a pedagogic decision. Students who are able to maintain a wakeful state during seminars deserve proper recognition."

Goodbye to all that

Our Head of Staff Severance, Relocation and Restructuring has confirmed that Poppleton will follow in the steps of the University of Birmingham and terminate the email accounts of all academics as soon as they leave the institution's employ. The "clean-break" policy will also require terminated staff to hand in any remaining institutional notepaper, unused institutional Christmas cards, extant pigeonhole nameplates, lapel badges with the Poppleton logo, and personally held senior common room coffee mugs.

Apology

Our thrusting director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has apologised for the university's failure to enter the Serendipity section of the Times Higher Education Awards. This was due to the completely unexpected arrival of the submission.

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"Can we read other people's thoughts? Does telepathy work? Is there a seventh sense?" Come and hear Professor D.W. Bunting of the Department of Parapsychology, University of Uttoxeter, next Tuesday at 4.30pm prompt in the Ecumenical Chapel. (Not recommended for those with an allergy to nuts.)

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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