The last time I wrote, I described my situation as a ‘one-woman band’ study support tutor, with a manager who was making my life impossibly difficult, with all the consequent knock-on effects on my physical and emotional health. This year, as the result of a merger, the hierarchy has shifted, so although I still have the same manager, the ‘Eye of Mordor’ seems to have turned her sights elsewhere and I am being left in peace to get on with my job. There’s no support, of course, but that’s nothing new.

My first bit of news is that I think the website I set up has helped to give the study support workshops a more prominent profile. I have all the workshop dates and details up there, study guides, and other things like useful web links. The second bit of news is that I finally managed to succeed in my argument to return to one-to-one support for students, alongside the workshops. As a result of that, business is brisk. I have always found in the past, that one-to-one support often leads to group sessions as students spread the word amongst their friends and they discover they’d all like to work on the same thing. So I am anticipating that the two different ways of supporting students will feed off each other.

Along with the website, I’m continuing to advertise on the All Student and All Staff emails and, in some programme areas where I have regular workshops running, I’m enrolled onto their Moodle sites so that I can email those groups directly. On one Moodle site I also have my own Study Support area where I post up subject-specific study skills guides.

I’m also trying Twitter – that’s a learning curve! My idea was to have another way of upping the profile of study support amongst the students. I have a limited number of followers and I’ve no idea how many, if any, are my students! Anyway, I think the story of my twittering and tweeting is best left for a separate quote.

The moral of this up-date is: manager keeps out of the way; business thrives.


  1. Mickey March 17, 2013 at 12:45 am - Reply

    Thanks for the update, and it’s so nice to hear that your Eye of Mordor is gazing elsewhere. In your case, an unsympathetic, unpleasant, or otherwise undesirable manager is indeed a major hindrance. But for others who have similar problems with administrators, I wonder how they can manage the manager. I hope others have suggestions.

    In the meantime, can’t wait to hear the twittering story!

    • Mary March 17, 2013 at 7:20 pm - Reply

      It is a problem and I’d be interested to hear how others deal with it. You can try keeping your head down, but there are times, of course, when you’re not allowed to do that, when you’re forced into some kind of confrontation. We all (in my department) make sure that we get everything in writing, by email. So, for example, we’ll confirm what has been agreed by email, or ask for confirmation of a directive by email, and we keep copies of every piece of email correspondence. On stress: that’s much more difficult. Some of what goes on you just have to accept and say, ‘Well, I want it to be this, but it’s not going to happen, but, I can still get on with my job.’ Where the behaviour/directives do interfere with my ability to do my job, I log it all, as above, so that if it comes to redress, I’ve got the evidence. A helpful tip from my accupunturist: accept that this is a period of stress and identify the things you need to do to help you manage it – early nights, eating well, for example. I think of it as having a relationship with my stress and thinking about it like that takes away the imperative that ‘I’ve got to stop feeling stressed.’ (Bv the way, the said accupuncturist knows all about the manager because we’re all turning up at his clinic!)

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