here is the deepest secret nobody knows

It’s the first of May, which means that I owe you all April’s accounting.  Before I do the math, I want to preface this post by noting that this has been the most tiring month of the semester.  Regarding my research, I sent off the manuscript of my book Failed Frontiersmen.  And while I know that I still have miles to go before I sleep (including the indexing), I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I can spend some time doing other things.*  In terms of teaching, we’re almost done, which means that final projects are coming due, and I’m spending more time meeting with students and working with drafts in extended office hours.  And while I don’t feel that I have put more time into service – in fact, I’m sure I haven’t – some of the committees I’ve been working on have been getting to work we’ve been putting off all semester.


Honestly, I’m exhausted.  I spent two weeks sick, which could mean that I spent less time working, but was more tired as a result.  I did take a sick day, but wish I had taken more.  I’m so happy the semester is almost over.  This semester I taught two sections of Literary Analysis and Research (an introduction to literary theory), which always involves a fair amount of prep, and two new upper-division preps (a senior course on Whitman and the Archive and a graduate seminar on Batman) which, while very fun to teach, involved a fair amount of work.**


And I should also note that this week is the Lougheed Festival of the Arts, and while I am not directly involved with the events, I am participating and assisting where I can.  This, I know, has increased how much time I have spent on campus.


Anyway, time for the math:


Time spent in class, office hours, and meeting with students: 89.25 hours

Time spent preparing for class: 36.25 hours

Time spend grading: 12 hours

Total teaching hours: 137.5 hours


Total service hours (meetings, plus preparation): 11 hours


Time spent reading and taking notes: 17 hours

Time spent writing and revising (as well as preparing the manuscript): 31.75 hours

Total research hours: 48.75 hours

Total work hours for the month of April: 197.25


Some more math:

There are 30 days in April, so I averaged just over 6.5 hours per day, every day.***

There were 21 days I was expected to work (9 days of weekends and a sick day), so I averaged nearly 9.5 hours for every day I was paid.  That does not seem unreasonable, until you take into consideration that that’s a full 1.5 hours above what’s considered full-time, and this semester I am being paid less because of mandatory furlough days.  In fact, as I recall, I was charged for 2 of those furlough days last month, so let’s pretend those were days I was not supposed to work^ and redo the math: nearly 10.5 hours per day for every day I was paid.


That’s fucking crazy.


So with each passing month, I have spent more time working than the previous month.  This is not a very good trend, and I know that I need to do better next semester.  Part of that will involve not finalizing a book manuscript.  However, next year, I will be working on another edited collection and applying for sabbatical.^^  I know that I will spend much less time preparing for class, but I will also have twice as many students to grade, so that’s likely a wash.^^^


Anyway, that was April.  Thanks for playing along.


*Including reading A Feast for Crows, which I started earlier tonight.

**I’ve already made sure that my fall semester will be much, much easier.  And I’m lucky I’m in a position where I have that option.

***Think about how fucking crazy that is.  6+ hours a day, every day, including weekends.  That’s fucking crazy.

^Technically, we are no longer taking furlough days.  However, we are being charged for furlough days.  The union swears that, at the end of this contract period, we will be getting paid for those non-furlough furlough days.  But I’m doing the work now and not getting paid for it, so I’m counting those as furlough days.  The promise to pay me later for work performed today is not terribly comforting.

^^I have in mind what I want to work on for my second monograph, and I will be working on that during my sabbatical.  So yeah, I likely won’t be putting the brakes on my research agenda just yet.

^^^I already have more students registered for my classes next fall than I have enrolled in classes this semester, as a large number of my seats in Introduction to Literature (3 sections) are reserved for students registering this summer.



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2 responses to “here is the deepest secret nobody knows

  1. Joaquin

    If only you were also involved in some leadership, Jim. Then you’d finally be doing some meaningful work instead of all that sine qua nonsense…

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