Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I dunno

Thanks, guys. I guess I worry about the whole "public universities are a waste of tax dollars" screaming because I can see that kind of thinking trickling down...becoming more acceptable...and maybe making people question stuff. I've heard a few commentators who are not even all that extreme hint that public universities are a bad deal, and that maybe they should be purged in some way.

A lot of folk who don't totally understand how teaching works, will see a courseload of 12-14 hours for a prof (which is what I typically carry, and which is actually on the high end of average) and think that means we are only working 12 to 14 hours a week.

Would that were so. I usually have at least 2-3 hours of grading (and in weeks where I give exams, maybe 6 hours of grading). I also have an hour or so's prep for each hour of class I teach. Plus lab set-up or take down. Plus a couple hours a week answering questions or advising students. Plus I try to do research, and ideally devote five or six hours a week to that. And then there's committee work. And filling out paper work. And writing the reports on What I Did Over My Summer Vacation To Become A More Effective Teacher or that kind of stuff.

And it adds up.

And I think right now, I'm just feeling some distress in general. There's a big push from all sides to get people to do "more" - on campus, to do more volunteer work, to be "available" more to students. At church, there's constant reminders to the Elders that we're kind of expected to be at pretty much all church functions...and there's just this constant, more, more, more. We need more of your time. We need more of your attention.

And I am WORN OUT. I just am. I got sick earlier this spring and I really do think it was because I was just so tired out, had been running in fifteen different directions all the time.

It's funny...there's a lot of lip service paid to 'taking care of yourself first' but when you try to do that, sometimes, there's a certain level of guilt applied.

The fact that the economy seems to be getting worse and worse, that lots of things may change in bad and difficult ways in the coming months, also distresses me.

And the fact that there seem to be more workplace shootings, or other forms of violence...apparently a custodial worker at Ohio State shot and killed a couple of others just recently, and in Dallas, some guy tried to kill a couple of people at a financial services firm...and it's like everyone has gone frothy crazy, like no one any more can see that problems are PROBLEMS, yes, but they do not require the final solution of killing yourself and/or other people.

And I look around at my students and colleagues, and wonder, who is fragile enough that they could possibly snap? Is there anyone I have to look out for?

It's very much a siege mentality these days and it's exhausting.

1 comment:

Kate P said...

You're right about the workload perception. There is talk in my area of having fewer teachers but teaching one more period each day--I personally get no defined prep time, but I don't know how classroom/course teachers would do that. It is crazy.

Honestly, I would think it is all the more important to keep public colleges going because often the tuition is more affordable than private colleges, isn't it?