Teacher audit

October 15, 2004

Name : Pauline Corbett

Age : Old enough to remember the thrill of sitting in the local public library reference section on a wet Saturday afternoon reading some of the weightier works on its shelves.

Job : Senior lecturer in quantity surveying and pathway manager for quantity surveying students, Wolverhampton University.

Salary : It works out at less than the recommended minimum hourly wage for the total hours spent. To put salaries in perspective, I was extolling the benefits of lecturing to a part-time student who was interested in the career until it came to salaries. The student's comment - "I cannot take a £10K wage cut" - closed the conversation rather quickly.

Qualifications : Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, MSc, with distinction, in construction project management, postgraduate certificate in education.

Experience : Fifteen years as a chartered surveyor working on construction projects before entering higher education.

Hours spent teaching : 15 a week, plus 15 for preparation, marking and so on. Total 30 a week.

Hours on red tape : Ten a week.

Hours on research : Five a week.

Teaching bugbear this past year : Too many students and not enough suitable accommodation.

How did you solve it? We haven't!But we have a new building coming on stream for the next academic year.

Worst teaching moment? Seriously, I cannot think of one thing - the teaching experience is the best part of the day. If the question asked what was the worst aspect of lecturing, the answer would be that it is the constant pressure and clamour for change within the sector from people from outside the sector (and the paperwork, inspections, systems and raging media hype and the like that goes with it). The sector once had continuity and time for planning and development. Now the only certain thing is regular constant change. The comment of "leave us alone or get the changes right once and for all" is always on the tip of the tongue. The one worst recent change for the sector has been the imposition of tuition fees. You tell me how tuition fees help students from the lower socioeconomic groups prosper and develop. They do not.

Best or funniest? The one event that makes me cringe occurred during the supervised teaching visit as part of my CertEd course. I was talking about one subject extensively for 90 minutes, but the notes for students were for a completely different topic. The students did their best for me and answered all questions, even though it was in a totally different subject area.

Teaching tip? Always maintain and display a sense of humour.

Outside interests : Football (come on you Wolves!), fishing, walking, golf - activities that allow solitude and relaxation. Vital to recharge those batteries.


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