When the emails started taking over my life 2 weeks before the Spring semester started, I knew this one was going to be a doozy.
I’m teaching 2 online sections of ENGL 102, 2 sections of ENGL 371 [a rhetoric course to the Tech Comm majors], and 1 online graduate course in Rhetorical Theory, also online. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention I’m directing two thesis projects.
I’m sure there are people who will read this and think that it’s a piece of cake to only have 1 face-to-face class that meets twice a week, but the reality is the more online students you have, the more prep work you have to do and the more emails you get.
But this post really isn’t about teaching. I’m doing a good job replying to discussion board posts and blog posts and grading papers in a timely manner, but I wish I had more time to focus on my teaching, not to mention my research.
The service component of this tenure track job is eating into my time more than I would like. I’m on the department Hiring Committee, chair of the Advanced Writing Committee, member of the Race, Ethnic Studies, & Global Perspectives committee as well as one of two consultants from this committee who helps approves new course proposals regarding our criteria, member of the Program Review Committee, and on the editorial board of two journals. I also have weekly meetings with the Tech Comm program faculty to discuss our growing number of undergrad majors and graduate students who are nearing the end of their program & need thesis or field project directors.
As I write this, I know that I enjoy doing all of these things, due mostly in part to liking everyone I work with, but given that I was passed over for promotion this year, I worry that I need to do even more when I’m pretty much at my breaking point!
And for some reason what causes me the most anxiety is email. Seeing the number of messages coming in every day gets my heart racing, and not in the good way. Because so many of our online students are working professionals with families, I can’t simply turn off my email at the end of the traditional business day. That’s when they are working on their course work–evenings and weekends. Well, I can turn it off but I feel bad doing so.
But when I was so exhausted on Monday afternoon that I couldn’t even make it out of bed to go to my beloved Zumba & Turbokick classes, I knew I HAD to step away from the laptop, iphone, and ipad. [I’m on my desktop writing this.]
I have a policy in all of my syllabi stating students need to reply to my emails within 48 hours so starting March 1, that’s what I’ll adhere to as well. So that’s that.
Now let me go email all of my students to tell them this…