Where do I get news about the plight of postgrad. philosophy teaching assistants at Birkbeck? Private Eye, naturally...
Even though the pay has been lowered a few quid since last year, one hour’s teaching per week at £27.82 per hour... doesn’t sound bad. But when seminar preparation, essay marking, replying to e-mails, grading the students and writing each of them a personalised report are taken into account, the teaching assistants find themselves working about five hours for every one hour they are paid for.
I wonder whether this revelation has anything to do with a recent request from the British Postgraduate Philosophy Association for survey responses about teaching conditions in the nation’s departments. (For the record, Durham’s terms aren’t directly comparable to Birkbeck’s; pay for marking is set by the departments separately from centralised teaching pay, and the Philosophy Dept. pays on a per-script basis, although less generously than the Dept. itself would have liked.)
Update: the (eyebrow-raising) survey results are now available.