Facebook “memories” are interesting. This one just brought me back to a dark year.
This post was from my first year as full-time faculty. For comparison, currently I have 11 classes to prep in the next 5 weeks (each to be taught twice, so 22 classroom hours, about 180 students total) — a lot (a LOT!) of other work of course, but it’s not the same at all. Everything was new and uncertain back then.
Back then I was teaching a brand new class prep every single day of the week (6 brand new classroom hours a week, starting from opening the textbook to learn what the content was going to be, often unfamiliar for me) and I taught a night class for 3 hours once a week (at least I’d taught that before). Close to 800 students total. Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to capture how I felt.
No one at work reached out with help or support (at least not that I can recall). Perhaps no one noticed. My husband kept me fed and alive. I fell asleep about 10 minutes in to Friday night movie every single week, and was back on campus on Saturdays but “got to” work from home on Sundays. I took Christmas day off that year “because it was Christmas day dammit.” My friends were kind and patient as I walked around like a zombie. They intervened the next year: you can’t do that again. How will you make this better?
I do not miss that year.
How do we treat our new faculty, especially those with high teaching loads? I hope it’s not like this.