I am a professor.
I am a 25 year old professor.
I have a Master’s degree in English.
I teach Business Writing.
I am a professor.
These are thoughts that consistently go through my mind Monday through Thursday. These are the thoughts that I think while I am teaching. These are the things that consume me.
I know, you are thinking, OK, where is this going?
Well I had to start with all that because I think there are things about teaching, and being a professor, people don’t understand.
1)I don’t work that much: Let me tilt my head back and laugh hysterically. I work over 30 hours outside of the 5 hours I spend in class, and 4 hours I spend in the office. I think about grading in my sleep. I think about grading on my dates with my boyfriend. I think about lessons in the shower. I plan on napkins when I have an idea. I AM ALWAYS WORKING. That doesn’t include time spent answering emails.
2) Someone else grades for you: unless you are tenured and teach classes with over 40 people in them, you are doing the grading. Not to mention, I teach writing. I sit and I grade EVERY paper that comes across my desk. I make sure to give feedback to help improve my students and make them better. I don’t want a student to enter the world and people think, “who taught you how to write?”
3) Grades are given arbitrarily: Again, let me just sit here and laugh. I wish I had a dart board that I threw things at to determine a student’s grade. It would make it easier. Because then I don’t wonder, do I fail the student who can’t write but came to all my classes and office hours? Should I give the A to the student who writes well but challenges me in class, is on his cell phone, and im’s on Facebook during lecture? These things matter!
4)I have tons of free time: see reference to point 1. I would like to include those teachers who take time off not to teach during the summers….they are tenured or have spouses who can afford them not to work. If not, most of us teach during the summer….or take a job at Starbucks, but we pretty much work year round.
Now I know, why do it if you don’t LOVE it?
Well here is the thing-I have a love/hate relationship. For the most part, I LOVE my students. My students make me laugh. My students make me think there is some hope in the word for change. My students are creative and intelligent (at times). They are also the bane of my existence. They email me at midnight when class is at 7:00 am. They ask for extensions because they work and go to school (which I myself did…3 jobs at one point during graduate school). It is a hard road to walk at times.
I sometimes think that this could be worse to me because I am not teaching English. Sure I teach writing, and yes, it is writing in the English language, but it isn’t the same. Things are rigid. Business writing almost has a formula. I miss the discussions about books. Deconstructing sub texts. Finding deeper meanings. Asking yourself about archetype and imagery.
I sometimes feel as though I am a little crazy because I am loud, bright, and wild and business students are so…..plain. It is like asking an actor to be an accountant. There is only so much you can do to tone yourself down, but that little bit of eccentricity still peeps out. That is me, the eccentric business writing professor.
Sigh, maybe I should just join a book club to get my literature fix. Or do they offer that in an IV drip? Intellectual Stimulation for the Soul Ward, if anyone knows about it let me know!
Until then, I’ll keep blogging about my love of literature and the books I am able to read in my spare time!
**M for Pocket Owl Press**