finished in one piece

I wrapped up my final lectures for my course today. It is a sincere weight lifted – the constant presence of lecture prep, early mornings, details to learn before teaching them was heavy at times.

A colleague congratulated me yesterday for “getting through my first semester teaching in one piece”. I admitted I had been genuinely worried that I might literally become two pieces during this course, if Spud made an early arrival. I am relieved this was not a hurdle I had to face.

I feel like I made it through relatively unscathed, but my research program is in shambles. A note to self for next time, teaching takes much more time than I think, and disrupts productivity and rest in ways I hadn’t anticipated. It is a performance, and it takes its toll.

That said, I’m not teaching in 2017 at all, so I have lots of time to forget these lessons.


4 thoughts on “finished in one piece

  1. Turia

    Woo! Congrats on finishing!

    That pretty much sums up teaching. It really is a grind, even when you have taught the course before.

    Very glad Spud chose to stay put. Now make some time to put your feet up!

  2. rainbowgoblin

    Steffen has been faculty for just about 5 years now, and hasn’t yet figured out the teaching/research balance thing. The guy who was visiting from your uni on sabbatical shared this rule of thumb: 1 full work day of preparation for each lecture. Assuming that’s a 60 minute lecture, that works out to about the amount of time Steffen actually should be spending on lecture prep (his job is supposed to be 40% teaching), after you add in the time actually spent on lectures and what might be a reasonable commitment for office hours, marking, answering emails, etc. Of course, he spends much more time than that on the rest. And the reality is that when you’re officially meant to be 40/40/20 (research, teaching, “service”) the actual expectation is that you’ll still fit in at least 40 hours a week on research (and review/edit journal submissions on your own time, of course).
    Did I mention what a relief it is to be in the private sector?

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      I think the idea of balance in academia is really the issue at heart here, given there are no expectations for any reasonable sort of balance. I’m 40:40:20, but only teaching one semester, so in that semester, it would thus be reasonable to dedicate nearly all my time to it (3 semesters/year at Innovation U.). But that isn’t possible, because it’s not like any other responsibility went away in that time, they just get balanced.
      I spent the first full month of class only doing prep work at home, after “work” was over. I eventually couldn’t sustain that, and it was causing too much stress, so allowed it to encroach into “work”. But teaching IS work… It took me ages to accept that.


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