Adrians fault that he had been chosen to teach the how to
teach module for the incoming lecturers. It was just that they
couldnt find anything else he could teach. Theyd tried him on the
international courses, but Uganda and Kenya had sent him back, and theyd
offered him to the teacher education team, who said that their students, tame
as they were, would most likely tear him to shreds before throwing him
So he got the
how to teach module for incoming lecturers. For the newly minted
academics with their newly minted doctorates (Adrians own was thirty
years back and hadnt once been taken off the shelf down in the PhD suite,
not even by the cleaners). They were so new, it was reckoned, that they would
be unaware as yet of the Universitys standards. Consequently, the risk
that someone like Adrian would be their introduction to the institution was
considered less of a problem than him winding up as a future boss or colleague.
And theyd be nervous at first. Theyd be keen to please, less
critical of what they received, less capable of spotting the well-known Adrian
deficiencies. And they had to pass. That was the beauty of it. Theyd been
contracted; the course was mandatory, and not passing them would create havoc
with timetabling. Not to mention end of semester marking.
And you might
enjoy it, Adrian was told. And you might actually learn
something, they didnt add. But it was there in the room when the
module was scheduled. It was there on the face of his Head of Department when
it became clear that there was no alternative. And, no, Dubai did not want him
back. Hed been lucky to come home with his passport. And his
But, give him his due
it was about time someone did Adrian threw his all into it. He
went through the library for books on pedagogy. He flicked through the
guides for primary and secondary teachers. He bought
his first ever Post-It notes and deployed them, too. Knowing that he
wasnt likely to win much in the way of positive evaluations even from
these very green future tutors, he determined to keep his mouth shut as much as
possible. Give them things to do, that was the thing. Show them how to teach
how to get students to learn by getting them to do it.
And it was a good
idea, too. To begin with. The hot seating went down well. A bit of role play,
even with the more self-conscious ones, was well received because, Adrian knew,
it was them doing the work. If they enjoyed it, that was their work, too. And
the post-it notes on the forehead party game who knew that would turn up
in one of the how to books? Who knew that he could get them
If Mrs Adrian, as he
used to call her (really) had still been at home, hed have told her. And
shed have needed a sit down. But, still. Laughing. Him!
But he got above
himself, didnt he? He pushed it too far. He turned to the page with the
goldfish bowl and he thought to himself, well, Ive got an hour and a half
to kill, and Ive got ten students; Im barely going to have to say
anything at all.
The book said to get
them in a circle. Hed already done that much (it did wonders for taking
the focus off him as the "Big I Am"). The book said that two people went into
the middle and, oh, they were still keen! and theyd be
given something to debate. The rest listened in to the questions and opinions,
stepping in and out (now, was that Augusto Boals Theatre of the
Something-or-Other?) when they felt confident.
It ought to have been
In some respects it
Because, after some
back and forth about gender or politics or death (something light like that),
one of the students on the outside had stepped in. And then her opposite number
had got up, leaving her chair empty. And the room had considered who ought to
go next. When everyone had already gone next.
Everyone apart from
one of their number, that is.
Adrian, said the newly seated student. In you
And he thought it was
a bit of fun. He allowed himself to be led to the chair. He let her say the
thing she said next. The thing the room had, seemingly, put her up to
Youre clearly not as bad as you think you are. Why do you let the
University treat you like this?