Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Just kind of frustrated.

I'm still just so meh. Ugh. Honestly, I think it's sleep. I think that's the biggest culprit right there. I got maybe almost seven hours of sleep last night which isn't enough. At least not with several days of less than seven hours, and in some cases less than six. I can't function that way. And it makes me depressed. But it also makes me long for a different life, which I think is in part related to my depression. But would I like a different life more, that is one in which I had a different job? Probably not.

It's just past midterm, and I'm done. I am at the point where I could not care less about the remainder of the quarter. That's pretty much the nature of the beast where I teach. Not only are we on a quarter system, but we teach semester hours. So the MWF classes are 75 minutes each and the TR classes are 110 minutes each. That in and of itself isn't that terrible, especially since I'm used to it and still run over. We have a 3/3/3 load. What is time consuming is the 10 office hours a week on top of this. TEN! That is ridiculous. The school labels itself as a "research" university, but even at the "teaching" college I was at where we were expected to focus on teaching and attentiveness to students, we had 3 hours per week of office hours. Even if it were five office hours, that would be fine. But 10 is highly burdensome and exhausting. Of course, most of my male colleagues don't even come close to holding that amount of time. And they get away with it. It's almost like it's expected that they need not be there. I think if I were to just not show up for five of my office hours each week, I suspect I'd get a good talking to. I think I'd be so much less exhausted (we all would) if we had more time in which to do other things in our lives during the day like cook, laundry, attend to kids/personal stuff rather than having to squeeze it in the time frame between 4-6 in the evenings. I actually think faculty might be more inclined to show up at uni events if the burden of the 10 office hours a week were lifted. But seriously, if I'm here from 8:45 until 4 pm two days a week and then from say, best case scenario 11-4pm the other two days of the week, the last thing I want to do is come back after being here 7-8 hours already for a 2-3 hour event. No. It's unreasonable. And I don't think I'm being unreasonable in saying such.

It makes me cranky. Yes, in theory I can use those 10 hours to get research done, but my office is not where I do my best work. I get my grading done here and some prep. If I want to be generous, if there are no students showing up, then yes, it's a forced prep productivity time. And maybe my problems would be solved if I were able to do my research and stuff in my office. Maybe I am being a whiny-pants. But whatever. I don't know anyone else at any other institution who much hold that amount of office hours.

The expectation is that we can cram a semester's worth of work into 10 weeks. How is that even possible in the humanities? I mean, there is no way I can cover 16 weeks worth of material in 10 weeks. I cannot have my students read 1.5 novels a week to cover the same amount of reading. And in classes like Am lit 1865-WWII I get to spend 2.5 weeks on three different movements? It's like an, I don't know, fancy survey class. Put that up against someone on semesters and my students fall short in terms of reading breadth, depth, and material understanding. It's one of the reasons why I think most of our students end up still in our program for grad school because they just can't compete, at least in American lit, with other students. It's frustrating, demoralizing, time consuming, and sucks the life out of my soul sometimes, especially post-midterm.

This fires me up in part to try to get my work and such done so that I have more opportunity for mobility. But then the other part of me is all like "what's the use?" But then there's the issue of tenure, so I need that work done, but I'm less inspired to do stellar work.

However, that's all I want to do. I just want to write. It's the only thing I've wanted to do since I was like 4. And sometimes I get really quite depressed because that's not what I'm doing. I don't know how to make that a priority though. I love academic writing actually as much as I love creative writing, but I can't seem to justify making it the number one thing. Every other thing seems so important. Ugh. I don't know. I struggle with this and struggle with this, but I just don't know what can give. I have to do some soul searching.

Really what I want to do is just say "Fuck All the Things!" and do what the fuck I please and what will make me happy.

And now I'll grade for a little bit more before class.


  1. "Really what I want to do is just say "Fuck All the Things!" and do what the fuck I please and what will make me happy."

    And in theory tenure allows a bit of that? Such a pity you can't "borrow" a tenured year, say "stuff the lot of you", have a nice year getting your balance back and writing up a storm, THEN come back and do the year-before-tenure, eh??

  2. That's one of the things most frustrating to me is that the stuff I really want to work on is my stuff for tenure. Some of these things are the things I want to write. I don't know why I can't prioritize. I don't know why I struggle with this so much (also frustrating ).