Relax, it's only a little floodwater

August 24, 2007

Name: Ian McGregor Brown

Age: 43

Job: Senior lecturer in employability at Leeds Trinity and All Saints Higher Education College.

Salary: Considerably less than I earned 15 years ago, but I am a far happier and healthier person.

Practical training/education: The usual formal stuff, but far more interesting is the experiential learning in retail, hospitality and, more recently, education.

Working hours: After ten years working in adult education and before that in the retail and hospitality industries, the key thing is knowing how to relax and switch off when I'm not working.

Your department: Can't say, won't say - let me roam free and work with those who want to learn and develop wherever they might be.

What is your office like? Modern, light, airy and currently containing the scent of Spanish navel oranges - this also explains the damp patches on my trousers!

What's your biggest challenge this year? Having just arrived at Leeds Trinity, I guess it is passing my probation year.

How will you solve it? By fostering support from colleagues, since many of my targets can only be completed by working with others, and by solid hard application.

Worst moment of your university career: I'm sure it is yet to happen, but for now it is probably the occasion in York when I told a group not to worry about the rain... and then finding that we all had to wade through floodwaters as we left.

Do you socialise with people at work? Yes. I recall a research report a few years ago that alluded to the fact that those who drink with work colleagues climb the ladder more easily than those who don't - so get me another pint in.

Best excuse you have heard for bad behaviour: I recall a colleague who worked with a student who had recently been released from prison after stabbing a teacher. Two or three years later, the tutor took on a teaching role in the prison service and - lo and behold - met the same student, who ran up to my colleague, flung his arms around her and said: "I have learnt so much from you - this time I'm only in here for nicking cars."

Who are the most difficult people you deal with? Those who claim to be "educationists", but who are not prepared to explore and experiment with new ways of working.

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