If you could have one superpower that would help you in your day-to-day college life, what would it be? Would you have flames shooting from your hand to warm up the classroom when it’s zero degrees and that dodgy window won’t close? Would it be super strength to help you carry the bags of footballs from your office to the pitch? Would it be x-ray vision so you could pinpoint where the teaching and learning team are on their most recent "support walk"?
And no, before you think, "Ah, I know where this is going. The kicker in this will be that FE staff are really all superheroes, and our superpower is to help students learn. Such a beautiful sentiment, Tom." No. That’s guff.
I’m talking about lasers shooting out of your eyes to save you demonstrating the newest diode or Yag hair removal technique in hair and beauty, telekinesis when you’re too knackered to show Kelsey the correct way to use a wireless stethoscope in motor vehicle, as it seems she’s attempting to put the thing up her nose. Again. That kind of stuff, y’know? The cool stuff. The stuff that I imagine when I’m having a particularly non-superpower-fuelled grind of a day. Or "weekday" as it’s called round these parts.
Superpowers would be super-handy
For me, it would be a toss-up between super speed or teleportation. But thinking about it, to consume the calories I’d need to maintain my super speed, I’d have to get food from the cafeteria and NO ONE has that type of money lying around.
So it’d be teleportation due to the fact that in my long and nefarious FE career, I have never, not even once, had anything close to resembling a base-room. I’ve had offices. Oh yes, I’ve had offices up the kazoo but they do little good when they are in one corner of the campus, and your English upskill session at 3pm is in another. Corner. In another campus. And that campus is seven miles away.
So teleportation it would be. A quick *BAMF!!!* and I’d be on the top floor to help level 2 childcare. Another *BAMF!!!* and I’d be in our edge-of-city campus dodging the pigs as I try to get the horticulture group to design a new garden using some sexy functional skills. And finally (and this would be the very best one) it would be *BAMF!!!* straight on to the sofa and in front of the telly. (Then a panicked extra two *BAMFS!!!* to get the youngest, who I’d forgotten about and left at nursery.)
It’d save situations like an appraisal where I was marked down for not being in the room to greet the students, after taking two buses and running the last kilometre as it was only then I would’ve been able to get there even remotely on time. (In that case, I probably would’ve settled for laser eyes and there would have been more than hair removed, let me tell you.)
So we’re not superheroes in FE, but with a bit of thought, consideration and planning, we wouldn’t need to be.
Right, I’m off.
Sorry, I forgot my board marker. Ah. Got it.
Tom Starkey teaches English at a college in the north of England