Eleanor Bentley [saf anonymised Feb 2012]
And there was quite a lot that I suppose I had forgotten about and erm sorry do you just want me to kind of…?
Interviewer:Talk, talk me through it yes.
Respondent:Tell you how many chapters I have got ...
Respondent:And what they kind of cover.
Interviewer:Yes go on yes.
Respondent:So, I have gone for three chapters…
Respondent:Erm, so my teaching this year has been kind of broken up into what I did before I did my PhD…
Respondent:And then it was when I did my PhD and…
Respondent:I did some teaching but it was far less erm…
Interviewer:It was at the other place wasn’t it?
Respondent:Well I was at [my PhD institution] and I did [arbitrary 0:07:03] at the same time.
Interviewer:Oh right, okay.
Respondent:And there is where I am now. Or where I feel…
Respondent:I have been since 2007. So, I have kind of broken it into those three stages. So when I first started erm I found it absolutely terrifying. That’s probably quite a normal-; I think it is normal anyway.
Respondent:Erm to feel that. So, I was initially employed as a teaching assistant in 2000, so eleven years ago. Erm in the first semester, I think I started in September, the week before teaching started and I provided support across four modules. So I wasn’t in charge of any of those modules.
Respondent:So that was nice. Erm I wasn’t completely thrown in at the deep end. Erm although the modules that I was involved in at that time had erm what we called, “Tutorials.” So, they were kind of softer like erm sort entity-relationship modelling and…
Interviewer:Oh, okay then.
Respondent:[?? 0:08:05] that sort of stuff. So it was in a tutorial environment rather than in err a practical lab…
Interviewer:Some lab or something yes, yes.
Respondent:Which meant that I did have to do more teaching. You know I wasn’t just kind of wondering around a lab…
Respondent:Helping those that had their hand up. Erm, so I was helping to kind of engage with the students and…
Respondent:Try and control the group of them. Erm come Semester Two I had ownership for two modules, one at second year and one at third year erm and provided support on another two modules. So, I was responsible for writing lectures, writing long tutorials and assessments for the first time which I found…
Respondent:Really scary especially, erm I think my, my very first lecture that I did was in a huge lecture theatre…
Respondent:To well over a hundred student’s erm and I was absolutely terrified. Erm and I was also registered and trying to do a PhD at the same time.
Interviewer:Okay right. So pulled in two directions at least.
Respondent:Very much so.
Respondent:Erm, so I found that period of my life has been extremely busy.
Respondent:I couldn’t think of a better word to describe it, stressful and it wasn’t stressful in a…
Interviewer:Is that, is that…is that the title of the chapter?
Respondent:I have written that down. No, no it’s Mowgli because I feel I was just (laughter) out in the wild, just erm left to the wolves.
Respondent:Erm not stressful in a bad way but just a lot of kind of high adrenaline. I was just kind of stumbling from one day to the next.
Respondent:Erm I certainly felt at that time I struggled to prioritise my PhD over teaching commitments.
Respondent:I knew that I should be prioritising my PhD but you know the teaching when you think, “Right okay I have got this lecture to do and…
Interviewer:Students are in front of you, yes.
Respondent:I am not confident with actually doing this.” It does mean you have got to put in so much time and effort with actually preparing the stuff.
Respondent:Erm so we did, I can’t remember the exact time frame but around about maybe 2003 I then got funding…
Respondent:To go and do a different PhD over at [my PhD institution]. I have thought if-, you know I did really, really enjoy teaching although I was still kind of trying to get to grips with it I thought this is what I want to do.
Respondent:I want to get a lectureship.
Respondent: I need a PhD in order to do that and I don’t-, I didn’t really see that I was going to manage to get a PhD…
Respondent:With all the teaching commitments on the-, on top of that. So, I gave up my post here.
Respondent:And left to go to [my PhD institution]. So, that’s the end of that chapter.
Interviewer:Yes, that’s a nice chapter, that’s nice.
Interviewer:A nice introductory chapter.
Respondent:Yes. So, then at [my PhD institution] err my PhD was then the priority but…
Respondent:I had the advantage erm that my PhD was still focused on education and teaching.
Respondent:So, it was always the-, err a good idea for me to continue doing lab support for programming erm but I had, I didn’t have control. Well not suppose I didn’t control of the modules but I didn’t have to worry about how the modules were being...
Interviewer:Yes, well it wasn’t, you didn’t have control but not in a bad way.
Respondent:Yes, yes, yes. Erm so it was nice in that I got paid to teach and to quite, well actually the rate that PhD Students get for teaching is quite nice.
Interviewer:Very nice yes...
Respondent:And I was also able to observe…
Respondent:Programming errors that are there in a PhD. Also develop a general understanding of erm the issues that students will face when they are learning to programme and later on erm in my PhD I was able to then put my [named] prototype tool…
Respondent:Into the classroom and see how students go on using it. So, it was nice, it was…
Interviewer:Win, win, win.
Respondent:Yes absolutely it was ideal. Erm I certainly found during that period of time teaching was a pleasure, there was absolutely nothing stressful…
Respondent:About the teaching at all. Erm although initially I didn’t have any control over developing the materials towards the end.
Respondent:Not at [my PhD institution] but over here Roger certainly let me erm write some of the tutorials and things…
Respondent:Just based on the research that I had done. So, he was very open to me doing that which was nice as well.
Interviewer:That’s nice yes, that’s good.
Respondent:Erm what I think I got most out of that chapter was the experience of the two institutions at the same time.
Respondent:So it was similar modules in that it was first year programming erm, many of the students had never programmed before…
Respondent:Yet they were a very different group of students and they were using different IDE’s and there was a different mode of delivery obviously as well.
Respondent:Just and they have got more resources at [my PhD institution]. So, there was most staff involved.
Respondent:They had a lecture, a lab and they had a tutorial where there was about six or seven students per member of staff sat down for an hour a week in a tutorial room with a white board and a tutor...
Respondent:And talked about programming problems.
Respondent:So, I-, so I was involved in, in leading some of the tutorials.
Respondent:And it was just incredible seeing how much difference it made being able to just talk to the students about programming away from the…
Respondent:Computer which you can’t really do here. Erm, although I did since coming back here I now offer an additional tutorial to students here who are struggling, so it is not…
Respondent:something that they are… It’s not on-, I ask for the timetables to put it on their timetable but they don’t have to attend.
Respondent:But those who are struggling I encourage them to attend.
Interviewer:Unless you say, “Oi you.”
Respondent:Well yes certainly after the Block One…
Respondent:Assessment I send an email to those who haven’t done well suggesting that they come along.
Respondent:Erm and certainly every year that I have done that the students have all been very positive…
Respondent:About how they find that experience. So, that was something I really got from my time at [my PhD institution]. Erm so…
Interviewer:What did you call that chapter?
Respondent:Well I called that, what did I call it? The Pampers Years, because I felt I had really had gone (laughter) you know just being totally on my own to all of a sudden it was erm I was just being nicely kind of looked after and didn’t matter if I had little accidents because…
Interviewer:Because that was okay.
Respondent:Yes that was okay. I wasn’t expected really to be…
Interviewer:House trained (laughter).
Respondent:Yes, so that was nice. Erm, so then the third chapter I don’t know whether I maybe, this chapter maybe covers too longer period but I feel with my two maternity breaks…
Respondent:I don’t feel I can really break it down any more than…
Interviewer:No, if it feels like one it’s probably one.
Respondent:It does yes.
Respondent:Erm, so when I came back here to start teaching again as a lecturer rather than just the lab support that I had been doing…
Respondent:In my PhD. Erm I think my official…
Interviewer:You came straight back as a lecturer?
Respondent:No, no I came back and did-, I got a research…
Respondent:Erm grant that I was doing with Roger.
Respondent:Erm but I haven’t kind of put that here.
Interviewer:No, no, no, no it’s about teaching here I just yes.
Respondent:Erm, my official job title was a lecturer in I think it was Network Security which was erm very new here. So, there was a lot of…
Respondent:Again I was coming back to thinking, “Oh god what have I got myself in for and this is kind of outside my comfort zone.” Erm, so I was programming. Erm put in charge of the programming module which was a doddle I was…
Respondent:Very comfortable doing that and enjoying doing that and I always have done erm but then also doing the Ethical Hacking Models. But…
Respondent:Initially I shared an office with a subject leader.
Respondent:Which was a, a nice…
Respondent:Way of erm you know if there was any problem he was there for me to ask for help and initially I think that was just when we were in the first year of that course. So there is only first year students so I supported him for the first year module labs which then…
Respondent:Let me get to know the material and then I went away and did the erm CEH certification.
Respondent:Certified Ethical Hacker. So that then you know gave me a little bit of erm…
Respondent:Material information about the area.
Interviewer:What content knowledge yes?
Respondent:So then I had maternity leave erm which I felt incredibly guilty about.
Respondent:I did yes, well I was-, I was pregnant when I got the job and although I told [?? 0:16:59] before my interview, I went to him and said, “Well I can‘t go through this interview without you knowing the situation I am in.”
Interviewer:Without telling you, yes.
Respondent:So I told him I was pregnant and you know I am very grateful that he was able to see beyond that and…
Respondent:Give me the job. Erm but I still felt guilty that I was letting my colleagues down. That I had been given this job and here I was going off on maternity leave.
Respondent:So, my son was born in May and based on how the maternity pay works.
Respondent:I think I had promised [named colleagues] that I would help out with the first and second year modules come the September…
Respondent:But it wasn’t worth my while to be paid to do it.
Respondent:So, I came back kind of unofficially erm but then it was nice for me as well because then I didn’t feel that I had to be here at nine o’clock in the morning.
Respondent:So, I came in and did an hours teaching went away again, wrote lectures and labs at home bouncing a baby on my knee…
Respondent:Which wasn’t ideal but it was something that I felt that I had to do erm.
Interviewer:Did, did you enjoy your son at all?
Respondent:No, no, not at all. I can vividly remember you know he was kind of screaming and you know not happy and I was just kind of thinking, “Oh come on, just a few more minutes,” and you, you really do need kind of space to get lectures written.
Respondent:So that erm was difficult and in a way I regret doing that you know. I don’t know if anybody here’s remembered that I bothered doing that now.
Interviewer;Yes, yes, yes.
Respondent;But I did it any so erm when [named female colleague] came back officially…
Respondent:From maternity leave erm, in a way it was nice because I had had the time to then prepare more…
Respondent:[Materials 0:18:39], just get to grips with the course more. Erm so then came back and had programming modules again, Ethical Hacking at years one and two and also Post Graduate Ethical Hacking modules erm and also supervised Honours and Masters Students and that’s really all I have done since then. I’ve just had those same modules which has been nice. Erm, another year off for maternity I decided this time I thought no I am going to take-. This is my last child so I am going to take as long as I can and not do any teaching during that time. So…
Interviewer:And that worked?
Respondent:Yes, it was definitely much more daunting coming back to work knowing that I had had that year off erm but it’s a really nice bunch of students and I felt they kind of welcomed me back.
Respondent:Erm and because it was modules that I had done before.
Interviewer:Yes, it’s fine.
Respondent:You know you are back a few weeks and then you think, “God I never actually been away.”
Interviewer:Yes particularly if the modules hadn’t changed much in the interim and…
Respondent:Yep and you know I have had this lighter teaching load this semester.
Respondent:So, I now feel mentally much more prepared for looking forward to next semester.
Respondent:Erm it’s quite erm-, I have had quite a lot of ideas about things I want to change to the Ethical Hacking modules erm and I feel kind of mentally ready to do that in a way that I haven’t done you know with this chapter at all.
Respondent:Erm just because I have you know with various different times out and…
Respondent:I think you know I have writing programmes before as well with the new Digital Forensics Programme and I know feel just now I can just concentrate on teaching and research and don’t have to worry about any other stuff so…
Interviewer:So what have you called that one?
Respondent:Well that was kind of the Adolescence because I still feel…
Respondent:Yes, you know I still feel…
Interviewer:Not quite sure.
Respondent:Very early in my…
Respondent:Erm teaching career as a lecturer.
Respondent:I have only been a lecturer since 2007 and I have had two maternity breaks…
Respondent:In that time.
Respondent:Erm, so I’m comfortable with teaching, erm but I still feel that I have got a lot of development to do erm… a couple of things.
Respondent:And I am going to register for the PGCHE.
Respondent:Here next year. Erm well come September I have got a long module that spans three semesters where erm people who register on a course take a module of their choice that they are involved in and I don’t understand exactly how it works yet…