TV and Teaching

I'm on my annual leave since last Tuesday which leads us to a very logical conclusion - I've been to Newbold since last Tuesday. Part of my stay here is pure fun and part of it is real work, and I am not sure I'm balancing those two well. But let's start with the fun bit.

I was staying at K. and T.'s place for the first days after I had arrived. And on the second day I discovered their TV. It may sound meaningless but here's the context - I don't have a TV nor Internet connection in my apartment. It's a conscious choice I've made and it saves me a lot of time. No Netflix. No mindless TV watching in the evenings. No 'let me just quickly read the news, oh, did I really spent an hour on Internet!?' thing. That's the reason why I get to read 30 books and go to 30 concerts a year - my evenings are screen free. Anyway, I suddenly discovered K.'s TV. And I decided I had deserved some mindless watching. And this is exactly what I did - I mindlessly watched three seasons of Luther in some three days, and it felt wonderful just to let my brain completely freeze and let Idris Elba do what he does so well. I kind of like this TV thing, really. (And yet, my home is staying a TV-free zone).

Then I also had my compulsory London date with Dr A. N. We had agreed to take on Tate Modern this time and it was awesome. Of course there was so much I was completely ignorant about, artists I didn't know. But a few rang a bell, too. Picasso, Chagall, Warhol. But the main reason for our Tate tour was an exhibit called The Tower of Babel. It's a real tower, made of some 800 radios which are tuned to different channels and are simultaneously blasting in different languages. Which sounds like unintelligible babbling to one's ear, of course. It was absolutely genius and made us both very giggly. Then a long lunch in Soho which really turned into an early dinner because many things needed to be said and shared and analysed: Newbold, books, concerts, family history, future etc. When I left London, I felt the way I always feel after a long conversation with A. - that my life had a little bit more meaning and direction than before our talk. She's amazing.

This has been the main fun. Of course, there have also been many other encounters which I have fully enjoyed. Saying hello to my old lecturers, seeing the new students, having tea with T. after he's done with the day's work etc. Tonight I'm heading out with L. for a dinner. There are good people around me and I appreciate it very much.

But then the work bit. The real reason I'm here is not so much my vacation but the invite from the DTS to give some lectures to the undergrad theology students. So. I have three classes this week. I had Acts & Epistles yesterday, and will have Greek and Foundation of Biblical Studies on Thursday. The preparation takes considerable time and the classes take a lot of energy so I'm a little worried about this being my annual leave. I've become acquainted with burnout over the past years and me sitting in the library, reading and prepping for the classes during my vacation smells like another disaster coming my way. I can picture the burnout being Liam Neeson and telling me in his deathly voice, 'I will find you and I will kill you'. [A completely random fact: did you know that Liam Neeson also borrowed his voice to Aslan in them Narnia movies? :D] But it's not all bad, of course. Yesterday in Acts class with T. sitting in the classroom I realised how good it is when another lecturer hears you teach and gives you feedback afterward. Like, of course there is student feedback and exam results which kind of tells you whether you're any good at lecturing or whether you suck at it but having a seasoned colleague in the classroom is actually priceless. So I take it as a precious learning experience. Dr A. N. will be there for my Foundations class on Thursday which, of course, makes me want to do well but which on the other hand is another good chance to get feedback and grow as a lecturer.

But today is my own study day. I need to go to the library and read for my doctoral project. And do some writing. I know I shouldn't, I should really watch some more Luther and let my mind rest but here we are...

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