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Zutterfly
Thursday, 11 September 2014 at 9:03pm
Saturday, 17 June 2017 at 11:23am
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page 1 of 19 recent posts

Thread: Quitting teaching?

posted
16-Feb-15, 09:55
edited about 16 seconds later
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posted about 2 years ago
Hi all,

I am posting here as a last resort as I am unsure who to turn to.

I am a current PhD student but I also teach casually. I am in different posts right now in teaching, and one of these posts is at an institution different to the one I study at and had been causing me to be very unhappy.

I won't go into too much detail, but to summarise, a member of staff has made it clear that they do not want me there. This is a member of staff I am supposed to contact to ask questions about my teaching duties or for any support. Working at this institution is new to me, so of course, I have had a couple of questions since I started. The first time I asked a question said staff member complained to my manager. Another question I asked was replied to with a very abrasive response. On the whole, I feel very unsupported and as though I am ruffling feathers just by being there. I dread going to work.

I am required to work here until the classes I am teaching finish at the end of the semester. I have a strong work ethic and would never consider leaving a post half way through my commitment, but I feel very pushed to do so. I do not know who I can seek support from in the institution without making things worse, but not seeking support on need-to-know course related things to carry out my role effectively will of course hinder my ability to do the job.

I know that leaving would be very unprofessional and would not be fair on my students but I do not know what to do. I am feeling very lost and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Just to add, I teach elsewhere and I thoroughly enjoy it and put a lot of hours into supporting my students, lesson planning and the like- so it is not that I dislike teaching.

Thank you

Thread: Supervisor woes

posted
12-Jan-15, 17:11
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posted about 2 years ago
Hi Ellebelle,

First of all, I am sorry to hear about your supervisor's diagnosis. He is clearly very committed to his students, such as yourself, and it is a shame that this has struck him.

Cancer does not work on a timetable, so yes this has resulted in unfortunate circumstances. BUT I do not think your situation sounds particularly bad. By that I mean that you are so close to finishing the thesis and submitting, you have done so much work already with your supervisor's guidance and I do not think it is impossible for you to get through your final months alone whilst just keeping all of his previous feedback to hand to make sure that you are not making mistakes that you have made previously. By now, I would imagine that you are familiar with the type of feedback that he gives- use this to be critical about your own work and be very honest with yourself while you do this. For instance, my supervisor tends to point to sections of my writing where I could clarify further, so I always keep this in mind while I write and proof read my work. I hope that this makes sense?

Also, is there someone in your department that you could approach and seek their advice too regarding some guidance from another member of staff maybe to see you through your final months? Obviously, they will not be as familiar with your topic, but an academic to read your work will hopefully give you some reassurance.

Zutterfly

Thread: Maximising productivity

posted
12-Jan-15, 09:26
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posted about 2 years ago
Hi postdoc_mum- Happy New Year to you too!

First of all I like what you do with your emails and I have been trying to limit how often I look at mine too as these are a major distraction, particularly when you have undergraduate students!

My productivity has started off quite well this new year and this is down to taking care of myself better and ensuring I have 'down time'. I go to bed at a reasonable time (Rock and Roll, I know) and I rise at around 5 am and crack on with work at 5.30 as early morning is my most productive time. I make sure that I have a 'cut off' time each day too where I stop everything, make something nice to eat and relax (normally 6pm). I have found that being kind to myself has been very useful by ensuring I eat and rest regularly- having the cut off time too makes me put more effort into cooking healthier and avoiding convenience foods.

It sounds though that you have the 'down time' thing cracked by switching off from your emails for the evening :) another thing I can recommend is green tea as it really boosts energy and focus.

Thread: NHS prescription costs...

posted
12-Jan-15, 09:13
edited about 33 seconds later
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posted about 2 years ago
Hi Magdatrix, You can ask for a HC1 form at a pharmacy. I did this a few years ago but was rejected due to student loan payments (back when I was an undergraduate). Since I get considerably more funding now via a scholarship, I have never bothered trying again as I know it will not be accepted. It may be worth trying though; as I said, this was many years ago and things may have changed since!

Regarding inhalers, I am not asthmatic but I was mis diagnosed as being so about 1 year ago and it cost me a lot. I was charged, as you, for seperate inhalers. On top of this I was charged for a couple of other things (a peak flow meter) and it totalled well over £20. The bad thing was is that I did not even need them anyway so it was money down the drain. Maybe you could ask your doctor about this change in charges and why you no longer get them on the same prescription?

Whilst I do not have asthma, I have other health problems that require regular prescriptions so I empathise with your post. What you can try is purchasing a pre-payment certificate- just google this. You can pay so much for a certain length of time and be sent a card which means you do not have to pay when collecting prescriptions. It is only really cost effective though if you are getting your prescriptions quite regularly (I think it is around £30 for 3 months, then a higher amount for 6 months and so on).

Thread: Anyone successfully pursue teaching after PhD?

posted
30-Sep-14, 09:22
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posted about 3 years ago
Thank you Awsoci, your reply is very helpful.

It is undergraduate level that I am currently teaching, and I turned down a lecturing offer at another university for this semester as there was no way I could commit (unless I cloned myself so that I could be in two places at once!) Hopefully, these opportunities will arise again when I can be a bit more flexible.

I agree with your view RE publication record, attracting funding etc. I have a couple of publications and I decided to use this time to submit an article to a journal which I have done, plan ideas for future papers and make a plan of action for conferences over the next year. I have seen that this is an important part and often champions the teaching experience from some views on this forum, yet the views of other students at my institution seems to be teaching is of prime importance. Your reply makes a lot more sense, so thank you :)

Thread: Anyone successfully pursue teaching after PhD?

posted
29-Sep-14, 23:02
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posted about 3 years ago
and if so, how much experience did you have? What do you think helped you experience-wise to get the job?

I have recently started some teaching at my university in my second year, and hope to continue with this until the end of my third and final year. However, I am unsure if a couple of years experience is even enough? I had to turn down a couple of further teaching jobs I was offerred recently as it would have left me with one free day per week and I am currently in my field work phase of my research (social science) which is quite intensive and involves a lot of travelling and therefore would have negatively impacted on my PhD progress. This has got me thinking a lot about the whole 'how much teaching experience is enough' question!

Thread: personal quest or just a job?

posted
29-Sep-14, 22:47
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posted about 3 years ago
I cannot treat it as 9-5, I certainly tried in the beginning but that is not due to the volume of work, mainly it is because I struggle to focus if I set myself strict working times. I am at my most productive very early in the morning, so I tend to begin work no later than 6.30 am, then I work until around 7 pm but longer in busy periods/close to deadlines. Though, this is not consistent work as I obviously take an hour to eat, and have tea breaks! I see it more as a period of intense academic and self development I suppose. I do casual research and teaching work alongside my study which ramps up my hours, but I consider myself lucky really as I probably would not get those opportunities to gain such experiences if I was not studying the PhD :)

Thread: How to write a methodology when you need collaboration

posted
16-Sep-14, 08:11
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posted about 3 years ago
Hi there amk22,

I would ask your supervisor to and put your fears aside of it looking like you are asking for help writing the methodology as you are not- it sounds as though you want to ask for advice on your methodology.

I am also in the same field as you, and I recruited my participants with an approach in mind then slightly changed it a short while into the data collection. I would say its good to have a methodology sorted prior to recruitment, but if then you realise you need another approach then you may be able to tweak that approach later. However, I would not recommend this if it means completely overhauling and changing what the participants have agreed to do as this would not be ethical.

Thread: Obtaining PhD

posted
16-Sep-14, 08:03
edited about 22 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
You are welcome Becky- I remember I felt exactly the same prior to starting my PhD so its good to pass this information on :) Please PM me if you have any other questions any time.

Thread: Obtaining PhD

posted
15-Sep-14, 11:18
edited about 2 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
Hi Becky,

With grading systems it varies slightly from university to university.

Most have 'pass with no corrections' which means that the thesis is good how it is, and does not need any further work; 'pass with minor corrections' which means minor amendments are required, these, from what I have heard, vary depending on your institution but typically are typos, clarifying small sections etc. minor corrections is a more common result than pass with no corrections; 'pass with major corrections' which means more extensive changes are required, maybe rewriting sections of the thesis for an example; 'revise and resubmit' which means many changes need to be made and usually refer to restructuring of the thesis, adding/removing sections etc. Finally there are a few different ways it may go if your thesis is not deemed as suitable to be awarded a PhD such as being offered an MPhil award/Masters, or if not even suitable for this, then outright fail.

These do vary between institutions, so I do recommend checking on your institutions web pages e.g. 'Major corrections' at some institutions may mean more substantial changes are required than what another institution would prescribe for the same result.

Regarding employment throughout a PhD, some funding councils do not allow you to be employed in a permanent contract but encourage casual work in areas related to your PhD. Other funding sources may not have a restriction on this. Personally, I do not think I would cope well if I had to continue my old part time job whilst doing a PhD, I was ecstatic to leave it behind when I was awarded the funding!

Thread: Long feedback times

posted
14-Sep-14, 17:58
edited about 29 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
MeaninginLife, I understand your point, and I also recognise that the PhD journey is largely an independent one and I do work very independently, but I do believe some feedback is required to understand if one is on the correct track from time to time.

In addition, I was most let down by having my progress upgrade delayed an unreasonable amount of time through no fault of my own. I had the report prepared months ago, and it is the supervisors job to arrange the exam theirselves which has not been done; if I could arrange it myself I would have done months ago.

Thread: Long feedback times

posted
14-Sep-14, 13:22
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posted about 3 years ago
Thank you so much for your advice Tester. Unfortunately I do not have a second supervisor, many students in my department do not, but some do. I am in the social sciences.

My first ever piece of writing was turned around in 1 month early this year which I was happy with, but it was after this things started slipping. Due to a 3 month delay with feedback on my upgrade report, I am stil waiting 5 months after sending this for my exam which has still not been arranged. I know it isnt right but im scared to raise it with another member of staff.

I plan to speak to my supervisor face to face next week. I have attempted email but I got quite a frustrating response, which said they were going to enforce a 'one draft policy' to which I agreed with, but pointed out that I have not even had one draft of some things that I submitted some time ago. I stick to deadlines, work very hard to meet them and then do not get feedback. It is so disheartening and I cannot see it improving.

Thread: Obtaining PhD

posted
13-Sep-14, 17:18
edited about 25 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
I am really glad that I have reassured you and have taken some of the panic away Becky! Your areas are very similar to mine.

You are completely right regarding remembering the 'worst parts'; people are often more likely to broadcast issues they are having for a vent. At the moment im having some issues with supervision which I have posted on here about, which seems to be a common issue ive heard on the forum, but that is because there is no set 'rule' for how supervision should work at PhD level, just vague guidance. But then I have heard of people passing their PhDs even when they have been less than pleased with their supervision, so again, the qualities of 'perseverence' and 'determination' can overcome such problems to an extent.

If your research is of value in the current economic and political climate, I have noticed those projects tend to get funded in the social sciences frequently; mine incorporated both of these areas. Your MRes too will provide you with a good opportunity to strengthen your writing and get to grops with more of the literature which will be very beneficial for when you have to write a proposal for your PhD. It will go very fast and it is intensive but I found I was much stronger academically by the end of it.

I worked all the way through my undergraduate and masters degree in jobs and it was exhausting. I think this is why I feel (when things are going well and im in a chipper mood) the PhD is not horrific really, because I had the experience of working so many hours and very long days with my job and university in the past- I find a PhD is much less exhausting as it is flexible e.g. you may have an unproductive few days but you can make this up on the days where you are speeding through your work :) if you did that in a real job you would have people giving you a hard time!

Thread: Obtaining PhD

posted
13-Sep-14, 13:23
edited about 10 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
My area is Higher Education but I do not want to say too much to maintain my identity on here- hope you understand! Yes when I applied to my PhD, older students already half way through that I had met during my MA instilled fear in me e.g. 'oh you will regret it' 'you will lose motivation fast and be sleeping all day and struggle to get anything done' but actually, I have never had an instance where ive slept all day or long periods of drift. There has been the odd week where I have felt frustrated or a little bit disheartened over typical problems with research and make an informed decision to put my work aside for a day etc. to clear my head, but I have not encountered any of the scenarios that the older students said to me.

Frankly, I feel if people are 'trying' to put fear into you they are just projecting their own issues with motivation onto you to make themselves feel better. It is good to discuss your phd with other students but I have come across some that continue with this negative 'advice' when they see you are doing quite well and I think that is to do with their own insecurities.

A 2.1 is what is typically required when applying for a PhD along with your MA. I got a first in my undergraduate but I do not know how far that went in the decision to provide me with the funding. I think it is more to do with proposing realistic yet useful and innovative research that will make a good contribution to your field.

Also, 'high flyers' at undergrad do not always equate to 'high flyers' at PhD level. During my PhD I have certainly noticed there is a huge variation in 'ability' and really, it is your skills of initiative, organisation, focus and perseverence that will help!

Thread: Obtaining PhD

posted
12-Sep-14, 23:09
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posted about 3 years ago
You are very welcome :) Yes I am. It is going ok I think! The negative things you hear about doing a PhD are not really linked to 'ability' in my opinion, its more like issues with supervisors and people feeling a bit like they have been chucked in the deep end and other problems.

With a PhD you are expected to work independently, but this varies depending on what supervisor you get from various stories ive read on here, and also in my own and colleagues experience; the amount of assistance you get varies a lot. I have always been told by older students and those who had come out of the other side alive is that the most important quality you need is 'perseverance' which I completely agree with as there are ups, downs, crashes, bends in the journey and moments of panic. My experience has been varied, if you come across another recent post on here by me you will see why I say this lol but during the good times I wouldn't have it any other way as on the whole im enjoying it :)
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