Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"Whilst I agree with your sentiments, platothefish, I don't think we can teach 'moral courage' and all the other personal development things you think we should be covering" - Department Course Director

"I agree that asking a number of members of our staff to teach moral courage might be a little like trying to tie knots in fog. I am not sure that the sentence ' exploration of the role of moral courage in the professional development of students' implied teaching. The thought of teaching such a topic sort of defies the object of the exercise. I think moral courage is developed through thought, practice and conversation. I had kind of expected 'education' rather than just training to be occurring in an institute of Higher Education. Just covering the subject and not the context and personal qualities required of professionals in the area is like making condoms with teats at both ends - it's very safe but is about as useful as a brick parachute." Plato

"We don't really have the time to teach this sort of thing in the hectic lecturing schedule. Thank you for your interest"

"This isn't interest - it's a cast iron conviction that we are educators not trainers. I want and strive for my students, every one of them, to be autonomous, critical and creative thinkers with leadership qualities and the ability be human in their own right and challenge where necessary and support where necessary. People who have something to say and who can make a difference to our world." Plato

to be continued....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"It's been quite quiet around here with you not around. I quite missed your lively banter and I know that your students are glad to have you back. I think it does places like this good to get shaken up now and then - and you certainly get people thinking, anyway welcome back, er can I ask has the large sign outside the main gates got anything to do with you?"

General email: 'A large sign (approximately 8 foot high by 14 feet long) has appeared near the campus main gates. Whilst it is not on university property if anyone has any information about why it might be there and what it's meaning is could you inform the HR office so that we can take the appropraite action. We just wondered if it was some art project. Could lecturers' inform us of such stunt's in the future.'

"Platothefish we love it, please tell us it was you - welcome back" - some students by email

"Dear Platothefish if the sign was your doing get rid of it pronto - I think that you are in enough trouble as it is"

"Hi Plato, Where did you get the poem from (I assume it was you wasn't it)? I want a copy - masterpiece - welcome back"

"You are out to lunch old bean - fantastic, I couldn't agree more - just never had the balls to say it - not like that anyway. Good luck I think you'll need it if they find out it was you (I assume it was as you arrive back and the next morning that appears), classic."

"A large poem has appeared near the university, could all staff make enquiries to discover if any of our students are involved. We have asked the local council to have it removed, it does the university no good having it in such a prominent position."

Local radio "The students at Xxxxxxxx University must be having a prank. A strange cryptic and large, nay very large board about 10 feet high and at least 15 feet wide has appeared on the roadside where all the traffic passing the university is slowing down to read it. The sign says in very large letters
"ACADEMIC FREEDOM" and then there is a poem in equally large letters under it:
"Freedom means that you are free to do whatever pleases you,
that is of course, which means to say is what you wish is what you may"
We have been trying to work out what it means. If you have any ideas please contact us at Radio ...

Friday, August 04, 2006

"Nice to see you back mate"
"Why thank you" (Genuinely touched)
"It must have been stressful for you"
"It was a bit of a shock"
"We all thought it was wrong you know"
"Really?" (Genuinely surprised)
"Oh yes the whole department was behind you, you know"
"Really?" (Genuinely suspicious)
"Yes to a man...oh and the women, you know what I mean" (starting to look for an escape rout e of the 'damn I wish I hadn't entered this cage and just tried to stroke the nice lion that appears to have a firm grasp of my leg in his jaws' type way)
"I think so - what was said then"? (Really suspicious now)
"Well you know......lot's of people supported you"
"That's nice" (big smile)
"Yes we were very supportive" (Look of relief - the jaws appear to be opening - I'll escape in a second)
"Who"? (dinner time)
"Sorry"? (Gulp)
"Who, who exactly was supportive" (Yum)
"Well, er, you know, all, well er, most of us were you know" (Oh poo)
"Who exactly"? (Shouldn't play with my food really - what the hell mums not here)
"Well everyone really I suppose. Ok not everyone said anything but you could tell" (Help)
"How could I tell Brian"?
"Not you of course, we could tell"
"Oh so how precisely was I supported"?
"Well you know, people saying things like"
"I'm not sure I do, what did they say and to whom?
"Oh to each other, we all said how awful it was"
"That's a lot of support Brian"
"My postman must have been on strike, I must have been out when the phone rang and well my email..."
"Er... we didn't want to disturb you whilst you were off"
"In case I was infectious"?
"Yes! No! No not at all"
"Brian in what way exactly did you support me"?
"Your students wrote a letter to the VC you know"
"So I've heard"
"They said that you were the best lecturer they had, that's supportive"
"The students have a lot of good qualities like moral courage. Quite a few of them came to see me at home. What did the staff do to support me"?
"Did they??? They visited you? That's champion. You must have felt very supported"
"By the students, yes"
"Er yes, look plato mate, I've got to dash, got a lunchtime meeting and I'm bit late, glad to see you are back mate"

Just a quick note - sorry about the gap but as you will see I have a good reason...
Following suspension and an investigation "Because you have brought the university into disrepute" (no prejudgement there then) with is site being cited (ha) as one of the main 'offences' , ok there were a few minor matters like hair cuts, posters etc. I have been asked 'if you want to keep your job stop that 'infernal and insidious web thing' (this blog).
So after due consideration I have re-evaluated what my priorities are and in the immortal words of one of our esteemed leaders decided to "grow up". (But I don't want to be all growed up).
The consequence of all of this is that it would appear its the blog or my job.
What would you choose? It's not much of a decision in all honesty.
So sadly I won't be continuing with my job much longer but lets see how long I can last....
Right on with the blog.