I’m pretty pleased with all that I’ve done this week, and I’m looking forward to a day that (mostly) involves scholarly business tomorrow and a weekend that involves cleaning my entire house and not doing ANY work. [Aside, the Man-Kitty totally just body-slammed Mr. Stripey, as if he were a professional wrestler, making such a large boom that it startled me. Apparently they both enjoyed that a lot, so I'm not going to worry about it.]
So what have I been up to this week?
- My students and I are 5/6 of the way through Ulysses. HUZZAH! I absolutely cannot wait until it’s two weeks from now and we are done! And I will be done with teaching this novel for another four years! (I love this novel, and I love teaching it. The issue is that the teaching of it takes every ounce of my energy, and makes me feel like a zombie by the end. Which I actually think is what teaching this novel should make you feel like if you teach it as it should be taught, but DUDE. It’s a lot. A lot that involves explaining to students what “fisting” and “figging” are… and that was just today, which, frankly, I think we all should be ashamed about.)
- I finished teaching another novel (Austen) in another class. I also graded a stack of 21 papers and returned them.
- I graded another stack of papers in comp, held conferences with each of my comp students, as well as got them set up for their next major assignment.
- I finished another unit with my intro to the major students, and I did some more talking them through the paper that they will submit next week.
- I set up a meeting for the department committee that I’m chairing.
- I agreed to speak to a colleague’s class about scholarship stuff, which involves reading what they are reading.
- I sent a note to a former student who is in his first semester of a Ph.D. program because I heard from a current student that he’s been having some challenges with teaching, just to offer some support.
- I set up a lunch date with a full professory colleague so we can talk about my preparations for going up next year.
- I talked a student out of applying to grad school (in tandem with CC who also counseled the student about the realities of it, a victory, since the student had only considered it because it seems like us proffies have so much fun, and the student doesn’t actually really want to go to graduate school, now that the realities have been made apparent).
- I met with another student about her upcoming honors thesis, and I gave her advice about money that’s available for student research and I encouraged her to think carefully about who she chooses to direct the project (she “likes” me, and wants me, but I might not be the best person).
- I agreed to co-direct a grad capstone for a GREAT MA student.
- I eased the worried hearts of two undergraduate majors who were feeling freaked out about all the things.
- I spent about 3 hours doing library researchy stuff for an article I’ve got to write by Dec. 1, and I made an outline for the article. (I failed to write my 750 words that I’d planned to write, but that’s ok. I’ll get some writing done tomorrow.)
- I gave a talk at a local library about a book, and it was fabulous! I always love doing this, but I made a wise, wise choice of book for this time around, and they actually all read it! That said, Esmerelda is still my teacher’s pet of the folks who go to the library book talk thing I should also note that I was very worried about reading out that passage about “cock-teasing” until I learned that a fair few of them had read 50 Shades of Grey. Indeed, the Senior Citizens can handle it.
- I submitted a new abstract (the acceptance was like 2 years ago, so the thing I’d originally submitted is no longer what I’m actually working on) for a talk I’ll be giving at my institution in the spring, as well as an updated bio for the flyer.
- I bit the bullet and decided on switching up anthologies for the survey, which I will teach in the spring for the first time in a few years, and I finalized my decisions about what I’ll teach in my upper-level class next spring, and I submitted my spring book orders. (I know, right? I submitted them AHEAD of the ridiculously early deadline of Oct. 1. ‘Cause I’m cool like that.)
- I put together a proposal for a catalog change for a course that I teach, and I circulated it to the other people who teach the course as well as to my chair and assistant chair to get their feedback, with the hope that I’ll have their blessing before I submit it to our department curriculum committee.
- I set up a work-date for tomorrow afternoon with CC (who is still pre-tenure) at which I’ll look at her summer fellowship app and give her feedback, we’ll talk about our research schedules for the rest of the semester, and (ideally) get some writing done.
- I took a 3 hour nap on Wednesday.
- I knitted two rows on something I’m making for my mom (which is looking like it will be a Christmas present, at the rate I’m going).
- I watched television.
- I bought a giant bottle of wine, and I just poured my second glass
OOH! And I teased my colleague who took over curriculum responsibilities from me, filled with joy that I was not in her shoes! And yes, it’s mean to tease people who are in hell, but, frankly, when I was in hell I would have enjoyed some light-hearted mocking because at least it would have meant that people knew my pain (even if they had taken pleasure in it, it would have been great to have ANY acknowledgment of my terrible plight). But I didn’t only tease: I also gave her some suggestions for the thing that she was asking the dept. to weigh in on.
But so yes, this was a very, very productive week. I spent approximately 5 hours on scholarly thingies, I taught for about 11 hours (yes, it should be 12, but I’ll admit I let a few classes go early this week), I spent about 8 hours meeting with students, and I spent 2 hours doing a community service thing, and I spent about 14 hours doing prep, grading, and doing emailing administrative-y service-y stuff. Yes, I’m going to do probably five hours of work beyond that tomorrow on the scholarship stuff, but this is a reasonable work-week for a human being, given eating and bathroom breaks inside of that 45 hours. The point is? We don’t have to work a 60 or 80 hour week – not even during the semester – to take care of business. When we’re newbies, sure, a 60-80-hour work-week is often real (if not ideal). But once you’re 4 years out from tenure? It’s totally ok to work a normal (for non-academic type people) work-week, and doing so typically can result in accomplishing all the things and then some.