I was asked to write an “inaugural” welcome back post so here it is. The title was going to say “back to life, back to reality” but then work can sometimes seem like an alternate “reality” 😉 What with the rather bizarre weather sometimes I feel like I’m entering Narnia.
It is good to be back. Everyone asks me that and I can honestly say that it is. What with working at home for so much of my pregnancy and then coming back when Isaac and Mariela were 15 months, I do feel like I have been out of the office for a significant period and it was time to come back. I missed a lot of the interaction and conversations with different people that you have at work. That is not to say, obviously, that I don’t miss them, which of course I do, but never in my life have I been stumped as to what to do or how to resolve a situation so many times as I have looking after 3 children for the past year or so. So far, I’m glad to say, I have never had a work situation where work has only allowed me 20 minutes sleep all night or reduced me to a quivering wreck standing in my garden crying tears of frustration. Both of which I experienced last year! I certainly think my problem solving, negotiation and organisational skills have definitely been honed over the past 15 months or so.
Whilst I was in the land of twin baby-dom I wasn’t completely divorced from the land of work and have been engaging in a few things you might want to know about. Whilst I was off I continued to be external examiner for the Institute of Financial Services PG Cert programme, which has involved various meetings and guidance for them as a relatively new institution running an online programme. Pam and I did a presentation for the University of the Creative Arts on curriculum change and our SLE and JISC projects and I gained my SEDA fellowship. I was also invited, and spoke, at BETT in January on how to communicate about your system implementation and was an external examiner on a PhD thesis on MLE implementation at the University of Manchester, as well as teaching on the MAAP Leading Change module with Laurence. My return seems to have co-incided with a flurry of requests to speak at external events, so I will be appearing at a venue near you …. I will be speaking at the HEA Changing the Learning Landscape events in London and Leeds and the JISC RSC Bring me that Horizon event in Edinburgh in June (a night in a hotel required yay!).
I’m getting used to being back on the various committees … Senate, Education Committee, Stage 1 approval, LDC Board of Studies, Advisory Board …. not much has changed on those fronts although the new University strategy seems to be generating some work now and there are of course new faces with new Deans arriving. Of course, the biggest thing I have been working on since I have returned is the Professional Services Review, which I am not able to say much about, except to say that it will be an opportunity for us to think about how we want to shape educational development support and enhancement in the future, which can only be a good thing.
So please bear with me whilst I get back up to speed. Everything has changed for me (new office, new home, new commute, new children, new childcare, new haircut, new working arrangements) so I’ve got quite lot to get used. Do feel free to drag me out for a coffee and share with me what you’ve been up to over the last few months. And any chocolate that you want to pass in my direction never goes unappreciated to help me avoid that post lunch energy dip. Looking forward to working with you all again. No return to work from maternity leave post should end without a gratuitous children shot, so here we are…