Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hole in the Space/Time Continuum

This was the semester that I had it all figured out. I used to teach on Mondays and Wednesdays, because many many meetings happen on those days, and so I used to try to get a few days (say, Tuesday) at home to prepare for classes. Of course, in practice, the way that worked out was a day that looked like this: meeting/meeting/class/meeting/class/come home and fall down dead.

So this was the semester that I was going to do it; I'm going to commit! I switched to a Tuesday/Thursday schedule, with the understanding that I'd be on campus a minimum of four days a week. Those days, however, would be less rushed and crazy because I would segregate the teaching from the meetings. Best of all, I would be able to prep on Monday and Wednesday for the Tuesday/Thursday classes. I'm willing to be on campus more if it means I have more prep time and am not crazed!

Ha. It is to laugh. Because today, Wednesday, I had four meetings. Last Wednesday, I had five meetings. The Wednesday before that, it was another four. It may be the case that service/administrative work functions on the goldfish model---it expands to fill the time to which it is allotted. So now, I've created the 278 pound goldfish. Look out, Manhattan; it's coming for you!

At 9 p.m. on the eve before I teach, I find myself faced with an interesting set of options for tomorrow:
  1. I could finish my class prep and go to my morning meetings (oh yes, there are more). But I'd have to blow off finishing the article I swore I'd send off tomorrow morning AND the paper I'm due to give on Saturday at a conference.
  2. I could attend my meetings and finish my projects, but cancel my classes.
  3. I could finish my two projects and cancel my classes and meetings.
I know that people are feeling the teaching/research/service crunch all over. Really, I know. But since I can't clone myself or rip a hole in the space/time continuum to make myself some extra hours, I'm in a quandary as to which of my three fundamental professorial responsibilities I'm supposed to let go for tomorrow.

That goat farm in New Mexico is looking better and better...

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Blogger Ashley said...

I did cancel my classes yesterday. It just...gave. And you know what? Your students, frankly, will be glad of the day off. Give them an assignment to do during the time, set up a discussion board or something, and get done what you need to get done.

My bottom line is, until my department gives me a TA or caps my writing intensive classes at 20, not 35, there's gonna be a day in the semester where it's just not gonna happen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 9:10:00 PM  
Blogger Sisyphus said...

Someone in my grad cohort would always make sure to take one day off our seminars every quarter for a "mental health day." I like that applied to teaching too.

There is always the "throw something vaguely related into the DVD player" approach to class as well.

Good luck!

--- Sisyphus, who is crawling under the desk and hiding at the thought of that many meetings. What am I trying to get into?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:12:00 PM  

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