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If it doesn’t work…

Day 19 of 30

If it doesn’t work pull the plug

I vaguely based this ‘writing for 30 days and see what happens’ on articles like this one by Glen Allsopp. However, it doesn’t work. Maybe it works for keeping the notes to yourself until they are ready to be shared. But it doesn’t work for me to do this without being able to reflect, read, think…and the writing slowly but surely meandered from going down the rabbit hole and only being able to think about frustrations of being an academic, into creative writing away from the writing semi-academically. So I should probably pull the plug and stop this experiment.

But then I had an idea: I could write creatively about academia—this might work. After all during my PhD there was PhDzilla. Anyhow, the whole issue with struggling to write daily, and thinking about pulling the plug reminded me of something:

Pulling the plug in teaching

Have you ever stood in front of a full lecture theater and noticed that you lost almost everyone in the room? This happened to me at various points.

When I was faced with this situation the first time, I felt like I was wading through treacle. No matter what I tried I could neither shift the energy in the room, nor connect with my students. So I pulled the plug. I remember that first time vividly. I just stopped. Shook my head and then said: ‘This isn’t working, is it?’

After looking a bit confused and surprised, relief spread through the room and the students shook their heads, and some even said out loud: ‘No.’

‘Okay.’ I said. ‘What do you need? What is it I can help you with?’ And thus we started a conversation.

Sometimes, pulling the plug on something is the most reasonable thing to do.


Categories: Teaching

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Nathalie Sheridan

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