Saturday, May 4, 2013


My grades are turned in.  I'm not sure yet how much of a difference that will make in my blogging life, but it will certain make a difference in my real life.  The rhythm of the academic life is one of the great benefits of this line of work as I see it (though certainly second to the opportunity to mold young and impressionable minds).  We professors work pretty hard (or at least we should).  I challenge anyone who thinks that twelve hours of teaching per week is cushy, to see what it's like to prepare to stand up in front of (at least some) bright students and have something meaningful to talk about for a couple of hours each day.  Of course disciplines differ in this regard.  In my discipline (the mother of all disciplines... at least according to us), the situation is compounded by the fact that we don't have ready-made lesson plans, problem sets, or laboratory exercises.  Philosophy is pretty abstract stuff, and it takes a good deal of coaxing (and bribing and threatening) to get students to read some old text and to think carefully about the nuances of it so that the classroom experience will be more than just the sound and fury of my own voice.  Then there is the grading.  Philosophy doesn't lend itself to true or false tests, so it takes some time to assess students' work fairly.  But enough of the pity party for me.  I turned in my last grades yesterday, and my contract says I don't have to report back until the middle of August.

Except that the philosophy professors have to write an assessment report on the major and get it turned in to the powers that be.  And I'm on two different committees that have regular meetings and side work over the summer.  And since salaries keep slipping further behind the norm, I signed up to teach a May term class in which we do a week's worth of work every day in order to cram a semester into three weeks.  And I'm under contract to write a book by the end of next summer, and so need to make some good progress now to avoid 60 hour work weeks next year.  And I've got a couple of new courses in the fall to prepare for.  Yada yada yada.

Still, summer brings a change of pace.  Just like I'd get pretty tired of living in a climate where the weather is always the same, I'd quickly become burned out in a job where the work is always the same.  And I generally like the stuff I have to do.  It is a blessing to be able to make a living doing something you enjoy.  

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