Another typical semester

I think what’s particularly bothering me about my job is that I’m really not doing anything that I feel is interesting.  Since I have almost no life beyond work (partly because of work demands), this has led to a difficult last couple months.  My physical health hasn’t been perfect during this time, and I’ll eventually get around to talking a little about the other stuff.

I’m teaching new classes of my own (eventual) creation in each semester next academic year to support a new degree program…assuming I still work here, which unfortunately is more and more likely.  However, as that gets closer and closer, the amount of time I actually have to develop those classes gets smaller and smaller.  We have a plan to buy some equipment for one of those classes, which is in the process of being purchased, but only because I went with the cheap option to save money.  Unfortunately, by “cheap”, I’m also referring to quality.  But, hey, that’s my school’s motto when dealing with students in my department, “spare every expense possible”.

I’ve had to retool one of the classes I’m teaching this semester to better fit this overall revised curriculum, but that’s more busy work than interesting.  I mostly did that over winter break instead of taking some time off, but I’m still doing “just in time” homework assignments, which I hate to do because it’s the most important part of the class and needs to be done right.

Remarkably, it feels like my classes are going better than they have in recent semesters.  Unfortunately, I have by far the most students I’ve ever had in one semester, so my time is taking a bit of a hit.  On the other hand, we’re required to maintain a lot of office hours anyway, so it’s mostly just a higher grading load and I’ve been able to do some things to better manage that.

Research-wise, I’m struggling to find the time and energy to revise the rare first-author paper I have in the journal queue.  There won’t be any problem satisfying the reviewer and getting the paper accepted – once I have some blocks of time to get the damn work done.  This paper needs to be in press relatively soon due to a grant-related deadline.  Of course, this is my work and I won’t even be the lead PI on the grant, or the main funding recipient, and it’s a pretty small amount of money anyway.  Because that’s how I roll with my research collaborators; I can’t imagine how it would be if they didn’t like me.

Luckily I’ve had to give up on being a funded collaborator on the attempted renewal of our major grant, because my particular institution only respects research if you do it on your own time and can still involve undergraduates.  Unless you are an mediocre teacher, then you might be able to get away with spending the amount of time on research that we are expected to put in our annual reports – and the amount of work required to actually make granting agencies happy.  But, that means I’ll have time this summer to do the unpaid work to get those two classes developed.  Which will also be unappreciated and taken for granted, but at least I’m not getting paid for it.



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