Friday, April 28, 2006

Hunters and Gatherers, Part One

Or Why Women Are Smarter Than Men...


n these Xanga pages, I often complain about the amount of work I am assigned. I am not trying to elicit your sympathy--although a few pats on the back go a long way in alleviating my frustrations, such as they are. But the reason why I complain so much here is because I cannot complain elsewhere.

As a post-secondary instructor, there are a lot of demands placed on me/us. Despite what the President may say about how strong our economy is--he's so full of it--education is suffering from lack of funds and budget cuts. As a result, colleges demand professors to teach more classes with greater enrollment. There was a time when the powers that be would encourage courses with only 6 or more students for an advanced upper division course to grow a little larger, but now anything under 10 student is red-flagged as under-enrolled and immediately under threat of being cut from the curriculum. We are not like Spanish or Calculus or Bio--fields of studies in which students seemingly enroll automatically--so we must constantly do our best to make our courses interesting and challenging at all times. This semester, I taught:

  1. Classical Japanese--8 students, six quizzes, midterm, final.
  2. J-Lit in Translation--31 students, weekly quizzes, 5 short papers, final
  3. J-culture through Film--50 students, weekly quizzes, 4 short papers, final.
  4. Proseminar--3 students, one senior thesis (25-30 pages).
  5. Internship advisor--1 student, one final paper (25-30 pages).

That is 93 students I am responsible for, and a hell of a lot of grading. Many have suggested that I cut down on the number of assignments--not surprisingly, many students make this suggestion--but I insist that if they don't do the assignments, they will learn nothing, and I refuse to have any of my students finish my course without having learned something. So I do what I do.

But the powers that be will come up to me and ask, "So why aren't you doing research? Why aren't you publishing anything?" As if I had that kind of time...

So frustration builds up and I wanna scream bloody hell, but I can't... because I have a colleague who is under the same pressure as me, the some workload as me... but still manages to publish. I wonder all the time, How the hell does she do it? She's making me look pretty bad... I once talked to a colleague from another department and he explained it thusly: She's a woman...

to be continued...

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