06 April 2011

On being condemned to be free...

This is a somewhat self-indulgent post, so feel free to move on. But it is my blog...

A confluence of stimuli as usual:

First, a succession of tutorials this afternoon with students trying to get to grips with the course policy of (not merely permitting or encouraging but) demanding that they construct their own "submission" of evidence that they have met the required outcomes at the required level. A majority, as usual, started by saying something to the effect that they had never encountered anything like this before, and they didn't know how to draft the learning contract... and then they (and their more confident colleagues) proceeded to explain brilliantly how they would do it with reference to their practice and their dilemmas and alternatives and... And then they were disconcerted when I said, "Great! How are you going to tell that story?"

Second, my partner is away for a week. It so happens that today marks six months since our dog died. In his final year he needed a lot of care; walks of course (v e r y  s l o w walks), frequent measured feeding, and insulin injections twice a day. And for a decade or more we have not been away together overnight because in part of his distress. (Yes, we know... don't bother to comment!)

I dropped my partner at the station, and drove back home. And let myself back into a house with no human or animal presence making any demand on me. Bereavement, in a sense, but not quite the same. It's the disorientation rather than the loss which takes the foreground. The requirement to make choices in the absence of guidelines/parameters...

So. I'm up beyond my bed-time.... Perhaps I would be more empathic to the students were I to have the tutorials tomorrow!

(Incidentally, the heading refers to J-P Sartre's (1945-49) tetralogy (I think) Les Chemins de la Liberte. Don't bother to read them--life is too short.)

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