I have a spectacular headache and the problem is that I can’t take yet another painkiller. I know, I should not be writing. How did the headache come about? Planning the schedule for the next academic year, I mean for all the teachers in the English Studies BA. This is one of the duties of the degree Coordinator –remember the 200 euros a month? I’m writing this entry, by the way, not just with a pounding headache but with the greatest admiration and sympathy for my predecessors (and coordinating colleagues).

Check this: I’m planning a schedule involving 43 teachers, each with their personal demands. Some want to concentrate all their teaching in one semester, others MUST teach particular subjects. Some live far from UAB and drag their feet when it comes to teaching at 8:30 (or end at 19:00), others ask for teaching reductions that the Dean frowns on in this time of crises. Some complain even though they have a tenured position and the reductions, others take up anything because they have shitty contracts and dream of getting tenure one day for putting up with the low pay. The coordinator needs to juggle a ready-made schedule with the needs of real people, as she imagines how angry students will be at certain clashes between subjects. Meantime the Vice-Dean herself complains that UAB teachers should be available no matter what from 8:30 to 18:00, if required every day of the week. Deep sigh…

I do know that other Coordinators have worked harder and others juggle much bigger numbers (or both). Planning a yearly schedule must be done, there’s no way around it. And it must be done by the teachers themselves for we certainly don’t want to be pushed around by bureaucrats. What I’m wondering is why my brain is doing all the work and not a computer, it seems somehow old-fashioned. What’s Apple doing about this??? Mind you, planning can be even fun, for the schedule is like a big jigsaw and it’s a real pleasure to see the pieces falling into place. It just takes, judging from my headache, more brainpower than it is reasonable to apply, at least in such a short period.

So, if it’s so stressful, why didn’t I start planning beforehand? But I did… I started in February, then got stalled because, guess what?, it’s election time for a new Rector and the outgoing one has been procrastinating. Yes, usually by now we’d be in possession of a final staff list for next year. No such luck this time. Why? Well, they need to ‘reorganise costs’, which means teachers must be laid off. Which ones? Well, that’s what we’re still waiting for. My headache, you see?, it’s not because planning a schedule is something that only Deep Blue’s current descendant can possibly manage with no mistakes but also because, as I know from my predecessors, is has to be done over a number of months and many times over.

If you ask me, I think this is a waste of public money and resources, but, then, who am I to complain in comparison to the Department and UAB colleagues who might not be here next year?


  1. I’m afraid the number of non-tenured teachers in danger of being laid off next year will increase spectacularly in view of the Real Decreto of April 21, increasing the work load of luckier colleagues. I also foresee a corresponding increase in grumblings and mumblings about timetables, what with having to teach one or two additional courses. And no increase in happiness for the coordinator.

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