Wednesday, October 21, 2015

So Far, So Good, I Think

I somehow thought that I would be less busy at this new job than I was at Field. I mean, look: the teaching load is 50% of what I'm used to. Of course, research takes time and is a much higher priority now, but I don't feel "busy" when I'm reading and writing--not in the same way that grading, prep, and scrambling from class to class feels busy.

However, I'm somehow on two departmental committees already, as well as two dissertation committees and two Master's committees. And I now have a commute--15 minutes, granted, but it feels a lot longer than my previous 5-minute walk. Plus there are lunches to prepare in advance, and I'm doing 15 minutes of Latin translation every day (because I need, need, need to keep up my Latin, especially with the work that I'm doing currently). Also, unless dire circumstances intervene, I'm going to yoga twice a week. And I have a weekly lunch with an informal support group for recently hired mid-career women, which is excellent. And there are talks and the like to attend. And I'm in this big seminar thing that has two mini-conferences, essentially, per semester. So: yeah. Busy.

The other thing is that I'm actually trying to do everything well. At Field, at least in the last few years (and especially since Bonaventure's birth), I did tons of stuff but not very thoroughly. Half-assery was easy to pull off on many fronts; I'd been there long enough to have my classes pretty well under control (I did reread just about everything--Jane Eyre in the seventh consecutive year of teaching it was the sole exception--but prep was minimal); I did my committee work on time, but didn't invest much in it (except for search committees); and I didn't engage in much research or writing during the academic year. As a result, I occasionally read for pleasure and was able to take naps (living so close to campus helped a lot with the latter!). Now, though, I'm really trying to do everything thoroughly, including setting aside daily writing and Latin time.

Because if not now, when? This is my life, right here.

And also, I want to make a really good impression this semester--on my colleagues, of course, but on myself, too. I'm setting the tone for the rest of my career. I want it to be one that I can embrace.

But I do hope that next semester is a little calmer.


Notorious Ph.D. said...

I was talking a couple of months ago to a junior faculty member here at Hogwarts. I always assumed that the trade-off was "less teaching = more research." And indeed, she has about half the programmed teaching load that I do. But she also is expected to do off-the-books one-on-one undergraduate thesis supervisions (often half a dozen at a time) as well as any dissertation committee work or supervisions that come her way. And that's when I realized that it's not less teaching at all, really. It just looks different.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Funny enough, my duties have slowed down since becoming chair, so I actually have more time for research and creative writing. I have no idea how this is possible, but maybe it's just because I have a small department. (Or there's something I should be doing but I don't know about??)

Anyway, I anticipate that if I got a new job it would be very busy, even if I had less teaching. I would be worried especially about proving myself in the area of research. The rest comes easily to me.

What Now? said...

It sounds like "so far, so great"! I'm so glad the new job is going well.

Flavia said...

Yes--my observations have been the same as Notorious's, and it's something I try to emphasize when talking to people on the market about "teaching schools." They always seem to think that teaching 3/3 or 4/4 would just be crushing death, but my friends at R1s do HELLA LOT of teaching outside of their official load, and the fancier the school (the more PhD students in one's area, for instance), the more work it is.

Of course, there also tend to be more course releases, leave semesters, and funding for research, which is invaluable. But anyone who thinks profs at R1s aren't working their asses off apart from research just doesn't live in the real world.

Anyway, glad it's all so good and productive~~!