I am right now proofreading my general-ed, intro-astronomy textbook. I sure hope it sells well: the bastard is trying to kill me. Now I know how my grandfather Viktor felt, with his monster at his throat. So far it's cost me the time I could have used to write at least 10 refereed publications.
I'm working on a big job search, which is technically not part of my regular duties. But it fell to me because of a retirement. I hate to say I'm doing NOTHING about research or teaching this summer, but last summer I redesigned courses of my own and one gen-ed course for the department. For free. The election? I'm just going to incorporate it with a lot of silent prayer peppered with wailing and gnashing of teeth.Fab
Commiserations. Hiring is one of those big invisible time-sucks that nobody, except the people who have to do it, seems to recognize as such. And designing/redesigning courses is another big of valuable but little-recognized labor. I think the administration has in mind outsourcing it to Pearson, Wiley, et al., at our students' expense, but of course that would mean (1) our students would have yet higher bills to pay and (2) the material wouldn't be as closely suited to their particular needs.
I am not doing one single thing for at least another few weeks. I have prep work to do for fall semester, but there is no sense in doing it early because my course schedule may change because of enrollment issues.I have set my work email to a automatic vacation response. My department knows how to get me if they need me, but I'm officially out of the office for nine weeks. As fall semester approaches, I'll get antsy to prep the courses I know will run, but I guarantee that a lot of prep work will be done the week prior to the semester. I also guarantee that I will be doing nothing related to anything else for the college until fall semester begins.
Enjoy the peace while it lasts. I'm glad the enrollment uncertainty at least has an upside.
Oh -- and there is zero way I'm working the election into my courses, even though I teach rhetoric. I tried last year and my students' critical thinking skills are such that nearly every lesson devolved into ridiculously off-point politics.
Unusually, not (mostly) for free, since I got a grant to do a big curricular project. But it's a group project, and I didn't really put enough in the budget for administration/coordination (my fault), so some of it will be for free. And it's not all that much money (but it is a worthwhile project, one that's useful to me and my cohort of teachers and our students in various ways, and one that might bring some additional professional benefits for me, especially if I write about it. Also, it was entirely my choice to propose/do it. So I don't really have any complaints). I'm also teaching, not for free, or even, thank goodness, for adjunct wages, but for less than I do in the regular term, especially when you take into account that medical insurance comes along with my 9-month wages, and summer wages don't yield the 10% retirement contribution that regular-term wages do (yes, for a contingent faculty member, I've got a pretty nice benefits package). I'm increasingly convinced that the summer term(s) should be treated more like the regular terms budget-wise, with the option for people to teach 2, 2.5 (about what I'm doing now), or 3 terms, with a consistent salary/benefit structure for all 3 (I'd also really like the option to take off a spring or fall term sometime, and teach 4 courses over the summer instead. This, of course, requires me to get to the point where I can take summer/a term off, which might be on the horizon, but I'm not there yet). Such a structure would, of course, have to include recognition that most professors do, indeed, work over the summer, especially on teaching prep and research. And I don't think it's going to happen, because the current approach makes the summer term more "profitable," and produces additional pots of money for administrators to play with. Also, if they admitted that faculty work 12 (or even 11) months a year, one of their justifications for administrators' salaries being so much higher than faculty salaries would go away. And yes, I'll be doing a bit of class-prep work for free. I always do. So on the poll (which disappeared after I took it, so I'm working from memory on the options), I picked the first option,sometimes feel like the last one describes my situation all too well, and aspire to one or more of the middle ones.
Oh, and the election -- not going to touch it with a 10-foot pole in the classroom. If past experience is any guide, some students may choose research projects that are at least tangentially connected (e.g. election-prediction algorithms or measuring the influence of social media on opinions or something along those lines), and that's fine. All their sources have to be scholarly, peer-reviewed articles, which severely limits their ability to be polemical. Outside the classroom, I'm not at all happy with this week's news (either Hillary's email handling or Bill's bumbling into the middle of things), but I'll still happily vote for Hillary, and with the I-think-reasonable expectation that we'll be in competent, if not perfect, hands. If the other presumptive candidate wins, I'll be genuinely scared, and hope that by some miracle he appoints a competent cabinet, and listens to them (or gets impeached and removed from office in short order,and has appointed a competent VP).
I will not be fitting the election into any of my classes. I mainly teach intro physics for engineering students, so even if I wanted to, it would be inappropriate. But yes, I am working this summer. I am teaching one class, for which I'm getting paid, and doing some other projects for free. There's the usual class prep for fall, plus I'm working on redesigning a couple of classes to make them easier for new (mostly adjunct) faculty to jump in and teach right away. I'm also helping a few of our older faculty members learn the ropes of the campus LMS, because they're mandating that we all must use it beginning in fall and they've never bothered. And I'm proofreading the dissertations of two grad students whose committees I am not on but whose committee members are useless at that sort of thing and I'm a sap when it comes to my better TAs.
I'll be teaching a class that will cover, among other things, the rise of the Fascists in Europe in the 20s and 30s, so yes, I will be covering this election to some extent, even if I am not explicit about it.
Teaching 9 credits. Paid for 8.
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