I teach writing, yes, one of those poor, sad sacks. (I shoulda got the MBA.)
I've been teaching 4 sections of 20 students for years, which is one more section and 20 more students than is recommended by the major organizations that oversee writing instruction in the US. (And that number is higher than when I started teaching.)
Now we have 4 sections of 25 students. So I have a 100 students instead of 80. These aren't lecture courses. Every extra student means more papers, more pages, more rough drafts, more grading.
It's astonishing, the number. I sat with my colleagues Friday afternoon and did the math. Based on the averages, here's what we face now.
5 major essays.
5 minor assignments.
Essays have at least 2 drafts and a final version.
Total essays read, commented on, graded: 2000
In our first semester classes, our minimum page number for students is 20.
In our second semester classes, our minimum page number is 40.
So, first semester classes involve 40,000 pages read and second semester 80,000 pages.
Too much. I can't do as thorough a job as I like. I spend 3-5 hours every Saturday and Sunday reading and responding to rough drafts or grading final versions. I haven't taken a weekend off since Christmas break.
I know it's a first world, academic problem. But I am going to burn out, burn up, and bail out much earlier than I'd like. I know now that by the time I'm 40 I'm going to have find a new career. And it's a shame.
Lisel from Lafayette