Today, however, the mood in the dean’s office was sombre. Dean Sanderson asked Lionel to take a seat in his office.
“How are you feeling, Lionel?” asked Dean Sanderson.
“A bit nervous to tell you the the truth, Edward. The email you sent me stated that this meeting was urgent,” said Lionel.
“I’m afraid that this will not be an easy meeting for either of us. Frankly, Lionel, I’ve heard some disturbing reports from your students since your return to the university. I’ve also made some observations myself that have me worried about you, “said Dean Sanderson with compassion in his voice.
“What are you referring to, specifically? What have my students been saying about me?” asked Lionel.
“A few of them have been telling me that you don’t seem to be yourself after your recent return to work. They say that you have been coming to class looking disheveled and tired. One of them said that you are now lecturing in a monotone voice and that you appeared to be in your own world. Another one said that you often show up to class ten minutes late and that you often lose your train of thought during your lectures. The most disturbing report I heard was that students have said that they’ve frequently smelled alcohol on your breath.”
“Did they say anything else?” asked Lionel.
“Yes, they did. Many of your students have told me that it takes forever for you to get their term papers and lab reports marked.”
“They’ve painted a very bleak picture of my job performance,” said Lionel shifting uneasily in his chair. He felt his face starting to redden.
“Yes, indeed they have. But there’s one important fact to keep in mind, Lionel. All these negative reports have occurred after your loss of Edith. I have also noticed a big change in you. You now appear to be slouching and you walk very slowly with your head down. You now rarely have coffee with the other faculty in the lounge.”
“Well, now that you’ve told me all this Edward, I’ll try to pull my socks up and do a better job,” said Lionel.