Friday, January 11, 2013
It's the Week before Classes...Leave Me Alone!
Those days are over.
Now the week before classes has become an excuse to squeeze in anything and everything admins can think of to show them that we are actually "working." We had done away with spring convocation because it was so unpopular. This year it's back, and I'd damn well better be there. My chairperson has already emailed us about it three times, and that's on top of the two we got from the president's office. The same day, our college's major governing body is meeting, so there's one full day shot to hell. On another day, I have to attend an all-day, cross-system workshop that has changed locations three times now. In its current incarnation, the function is now downtown, meaning I will have to get up at the butt crack of dawn to fight rush hour. And there's another day gone. Oh, and now we have mandatory department meetings during that week. My department has decided on a meeting that will take all morning one day followed by an afternoon workshop, so guess what? Yet another day gone.
Let's not forget the students. All those students whose classes get canceled are going to need places to go, which means they need advising. The actual advising department now performs that function for only a small subset of our students. Faculty are expected to do the rest. This means if I am in my office, I will not get a moment's peace as I'm one of the few who has proven competent at advising. Instead of making the others learn to do it, it's so much easier to just keep shunting the students off to people who actually do their jobs. Then there are the gazillion questions that will come in. What books do I need for the class? When do I need the books? Do I really need those books? Are the books available in the library? I have never understood why students are so obsessed with books at the beginning of the term. Once they get them, it's not as if they actually read them anyway much of the time. I would be remiss if I didn't include the forty-eleven questions and sad stories I will get from students desperate to get into my online sections, which have been full for months. I wouldn't even mind dealing with the students if that were the only thing I had to handle besides prep, but sadly, that is not the case.
As the workload gets bigger, prepping for classes gets harder and harder each year. My desk will be piled high with busy work. I will make more mistakes on my syllabi because I have less time to review them. I have been planning changes based on last term, but I won't be able to implement them as thoroughly as I would like. I haven't been able to work on much over break because of our IT issues, so I will be just like my students, working on my classes right down to the very last minute. Add to that the soul-sucking upper respiratory epidemic that has felled everyone in my home for the past week with no signs of going away anytime soon (doc says two weeks plus is the norm), and you can see how the misery just gets compounded.
I so miss my island of time, my unhurried, uninterrupted oasis in the desert of bureaucracy. When did meetings become more important than education?