Monday, November 22, 2010

Like Senioritis

I commiserated with K. today. Like me, she is a lecturer at the university. It's near the end of the quarter and we're both more tired than we expected to be. We have both taught our classes many times before, so we could easily phone them in. However, we both are always trying to get them to work better. We tinker with this, adjust that, experiment with the other, and so on. The bulk of the class remains the same, but so much work is spent on the fiddly improvements that it wears you out. It's kind of like Greg LeMond said about bicycling--it never gets any easier, you just go faster. Teaching's always all-consuming, you just hope that you do it better.

We both have spent a lot of time and energy to improve our courses. She has attended workshops in college teaching, and done amazing things with introductory biology at Davis. She has even written her own textbook. She teaches something like 1500 students every year. Like me, K. has been told by the university that there won't be employment for us next year.

So, we're tired, largely because of challenges we're making for ourselves. We try not to think about the end of our jobs--as soon as we do, we both find ourselves just not caring. Why should we bother? We decided that we're in danger of a sort of professional senioritis. K. is looking for something that motivates her (other than riding a horse). I'm probably in denial, keeping thoughts of an uncertain future at bay by giving myself more work to do.

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