Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wishes (resolutions?) for the new academic year

I'm taking break from planning classes that start almost immediately to think about this year. What do I want to happen?
  • Less time spent in faculty meetings where we might as well pass around the Festivus pole. You know what I'm talking about: the ritual airing of grievances, feats of strength (power struggles between individuals), and so on. Not all meetings are like this, but let's make none of them like this. (I'm not talking about raising legitimate problems but re-discussing past issues.)
  • This goes double for meetings in which people submit things for discussion and don't show up to discuss them.
  • Triple for those who make a lengthy point in an already overly long meeting, stand up, say "I have to leave now," and then walk out the door, leaving the rest of us holding the Festivus pole.
  • Spend more time on writing early in the morning during writing days.
  • Spend less time being irritated and tempted to fire off annoyed emails. I don't often send them, but the irritation is distracting. Twain said "When angry, count four; when very angry, swear." Both are better than writing angry emails in your head when you're supposed to be writing.
  • Say no to pointless service obligations, the kind where I'm basically there to warm a bench rather than to play the game. I've done plenty of service, and it's time to get my other work done instead.
What are your resolutions?


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

I resolve to get up early and write first thing on most days (I'll see what I can do on the morning after night classes, but I forgive myself if I need sleep more on those days). I also resolve to plan the semester in five-week segments, both for classes and for research, with clear goals set in terms of both process and product (write 500 words a day and have complete draft by date X; grade Y papers per day and have the whole class's papers back by date Z).

undine said...

Dame Eleanor, you're inspiring me. I'm going to try that early pattern and will work on the 5 week plan.

Z said...

As it turns out I am teaching 5 classes, one of which is very easy. Three are hard and one is new. Zero theses and zero grad exams this term, however. One large grant proposal and one large administrative task. I do not know how much I can get done but I resolve this:
MWF 8-10 office hours and prep the 3 hard classes. Then teach the 4 classes, then on MW work on the grant and the administrative task, and on F take the afternoon and evening off.
T prepare and then teach the new class.
Th research and writing, no invasions and no exceptions.
Saturdays alternate between cleaning / shopping / mending / yard work and days out of town to do research or recreation.
Sundays are bad days because everything is closed, everyone is out of town or in church all day, there is no ventilation in the building (heating/cooling off and windows do not open) so I am not sure yet how to handle them well. I think I should go hiking or something like that and then do work and then go Out (you can always go Out here at night, we are decadent). I like to work on Saturday nights but not Friday or Sunday nights.

Anonymous said...

Update: I've adopted the 5 week plan, or a modification of it. Phase 1 is to 5 October, Phase 2 to 24 October, Phase 3 is to 1 December, and Phase 4 to 14 December. Progress within Phase 1 is on track pretty much but my resolutions now are:

- sleep
- exercise

even with 5 classes, or especially with, have to.