Yesterday was a fairly quiet day, nestled between two days that will take more energy--on Wednesday, we had our New Student Orientation, and today, we have a Faculty Development Day. Unlike other places I've worked, we only offer one session, so the day won't require as much energy as other years.
Part of today will be led by Career Services, as we are discussing soft skills and all the ways we can get students prepared to go on the job market. We will brainstorm ways that we might include these in our classes. For example, I might require students to write a thank you note in response to teacher-student conferences.
Some traditionalists might protest that teaching soft skills is not their job as faculty. But our school is below benchmark on career placement, so we need to show that we are trying to remediate that situation. If we can't get our numbers up, those traditionalists might not have a job at my campus, depending on how severe our problem turns out to be.
And I might argue that those soft skills are more important than some of the skills a traditionalist might include. Most students aren't going to have to write a research 5-10 page essay in their work lives. But most will have to write e-mails or other communications that give information in clear and concise ways. Most will have to keep records and other types of documentation.
Yesterday, I headed out to do the shopping to prepare for our Faculty Development Day. We are lucky: we can still afford to buy lunch for the event, and so I needed to have some paper goods. I also got items for the quarter for various people on campus. It's not glamorous stuff: bleach, wipes, storage bins, that kind of stuff.
It made me inordinately happy that I was able to find everything on the list.
In the afternoon, I turned to an aspect of my job that's a bit more drudgery: uploading contracts and filling the exact same information that's on the contract into a spreadsheet/log so that the HR person can then upload/enter that same information into our payment software. It's not unpleasant, exactly, but a process that could be streamlined, if we were so inclined. And it involves lots of paper and scanning.
At least it doesn't involve poop. Let me explain.
After work, we went to the house of neighborhood friends for wine and cheese. I offered this greeting: "Don't hug us. We're both fighting off colds. It occurs to me that I should have let you know, so that you could have decided in advance that you didn't want to be exposed to our germs."
Our psychologist friend said, "I spent my work day stepping around poop on the floor, so your cold germs are the least of my worries of disease exposure." She'd spent her work day at the low budget institution where one of the Medicaid clients sometimes acts out by pooping on the floor. At least my work day doesn't involve human poop.
I feel fortunate that I have that sort of workplace. I'm dealing with disadvantaged clients of a different sort, but my skill levels are better suited to teaching than counseling--and to the facilitating of good teaching.