number of jobs in my job title: 1
roles I actually perform: errr…..too many to mention!
It has been an exciting few months for me, getting married and buying a house as well as, of course, getting my dream job. I had wanted a secure lectureship for several years before I got one. Now, the exciting and scary part about it is that ‘lecturer’ barely covers the tasks I do in my day to day life. It’s not until you actually get into the swing of a job where you do make a full contribution to the life of the department that you realise quite what is involved!
One thing that teachers at schools, FE colleges and universities realise is that they soon become unqualified counsellors and I have found that increasingly this term. As students know me better and my presence in the department becomes more familiar, I am getting more and more people coming by to discuss their personal issues, always in the context of how it may or may not affect academic work. Some of the issues I have dealt with, only since Christmas include (without being too specific so as to break confidences) dyslexia, criminal convictions, hospitalisations, car accidents, divorce, depression, violent housemates, panic attacks and random assaults in the street.
I am glad that students feel able to discuss this sort of thing with an adult who can at least try to help and definitely ensure that academic support is given. But I wish I knew a little more about what I ‘ought’ to be saying or doing. Perhaps all lecturers ought to be offered the chance to undertake counselling training: I know that after this term I would jump at the chance. Equally though, this is not my main job. I do not want to give up lecturing and become a counsellor. One of my colleagues believes that more students tell her their problems because she has a box of tissues prominently displayed in her office. It sounds as though we could all do with a bit of guidance on supporting students.