Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Joy of Working From Home...Mostly!

Most semesters, I teach two courses on line and two courses on campus. As the university has restructured class times/days, teaching two classes on campus has become difficult.  I want to minimize the 90-mile roundtrip as much as possible, so I try to limit my time on campus to two days per week.  That means I usually end up teaching 1 1/2-hour courses, but those slots don't begin until noon on Monday/Wednesday.  The last time I did that (last spring), I ended up teaching one class from noon until 1:15, then another from 2pm until 3:15.  That made for a long day.

This semester, I'm teaching three courses on line (all writing courses--gah!) and one class on campus at noon on M/W.  I will have my four-day weekends back, but will still need to get up on Monday mornings.  Hey, everything's a trade-off!

Since I became one of those intrepid souls who teach college courses on line, my life has expanded in unforeseen ways.  I can spend more time at home--five days a week.  My students have multiple ways to contact me, via Skype, IM, two email addresses and my office phone (messages go to my email inbox, and I can listen to them).  So I'm still accessible, but I have time at home for baking, cooking, gardening...reading, even!  I love it.

I blundered into teaching much the way I blunder into the rest of my life.  I have a degree in secondary education, but I kept trying to find jobs that paid well that weren't primarily teaching.  I should have just been a teacher. This lifestyle suits me well. 

Most people think teachers have cushy lives.  Hah, I say.  I teach year-round; I have to design my courses with the course management software, monitor those courses, and constantly find ways to make them interesting and helpful.  Plus, I grade papers.  Oy, do I grade papers--some weeks, I have 90 or more essays and/or other assignments to grade.  I spend anywhere from four to 10 hours a day reading/grading/returning emails, etc.  Anyone who tells you that teachers have it easy obviously hasn't ever taught. 

In spite of the grading, I wouldn't trade this career for any other.

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