Thursday, January 8, 2015

Teaching As A Test of Endurance: Week One

Well, the week is not quite over but I feel as if I'm ready for spring break. How can teaching three classes be so exhausting? Am I *that* old and out of energy? No. I hear the same complaint from my younger colleagues. This job takes an impossible amount of endurance.

Imagine beginning the day with a 40 minute commute through traffic. You arrive at your office and find that the radiator valve has broken and it's 85 degrees in your work space. You're already late for submitting your office hours to the department secretary --- in part because no one mentions that the form does not work with Google Chrome. A student drops by who wants to join your already full class. They do not want to take no for an answer.

By the time you arrive at your classroom to begin a three and a half hour teaching block, you're already a bit worn out from fighting with the copier. Surprisingly, your Gender and Film class is filled with a majority of young men --- many of them refugees from the Psychology class that was just cancelled in your same time slot.

And so it goes. Now add on committee meetings, learning a new computer system, and trying to be collegial with your colleagues and the day disappears. After arriving home, eating leftovers, and answering student emails --- it's 9:56 pm. Time to grade papers and plan the next day's classes.

On the positive side: my students seem ready to learn. The majority of them did their first assignment and did it well. Happy Week # 1.


  1. I teach mostly high school and my Winter Term began three weeks before the break. This means I have had two first weeks. I know exactly what you're talking about.

  2. Hi Jan,

    If you have any tips for survival, I'd love to hear them. Honestly, any at all.