Friday, April 30, 2010

Workload planning

It's that time of year again, when we have to commit to our workload for next year. I thought I had everything worked out - teaching a small upper level (mostly grad) class in the fall and a not quite as small upper level undergrad class in the spring (same one I just finished). This seems reasonable and made some sense. My fall class is somewhat experiemntal, although it will be substantially re-worked from the last time I offered it with the idea of eventually turning into a new permanent course. All good, right?

But this morning, a new option miraculously appeared before me. One of my senior colleagues teaches a broadly defined course, which has a section that overlaps with my spring course to some degree. Given our backgrounds, I would be more qualified to teach that portion (about 4 weeks) of the class than she. Based on this, the offer was extended - Would I rather teach my fall course or be teaching free in the fall and teach my spring course, plus contribute to her spring course?

It would mean getting nothing else done for the first four weeks of the spring semester, but TEACHING FREE IN THE FALL!!!!!! Granted, my fall course is not a huge commitment, but it IS a teaching commitment (of which even a small one is not that small). Now I am left to ponder whether I just write off the start of spring semester and have my fall freedom or if I maintain a baseline of teaching time suck throughout the school year. I can't help but think the former would be so much nicer...


  1. A whole semester away from teaching??? Go for it!

  2. Yes, if given the choice I would double up teaching in one semester to have the other off for sure! Unfortunately, administration wants to see us listed "on the books" at all times, so they're a bit hesitant about that arrangement at my own Employment U.

  3. I'd definitely go for doubling up (and I do, when possible). If you say teaching one course by itself takes X amount of time, I find that teaching two courses simultaneously only takes about 1.7X amount of time (I think I spend less time "polishing" my lectures or something). So by teaching the two courses in the same semester, I theoretically save myself 0.3X time during the year. My only problem is that during my "off" semester when I have one, I tend to squander some of that time on important things like reading blogs, but I still think it's better for my productivity and my sanity.