That time of the semester.

24 April 2011

Yes, I’ve been absent from the blog recently after being so dedicated for so many weeks. Why? Because so often spring semester eats me alive. I have a pile of grading, reading, and dissertation chapters that would choke a horse. And I have a new way to understand my crankiness: a recent British study on professors’ burnout rates that made the rounds of my Facebook feed.

Apparently the problem is twofold: too much contact with students and a lack of coping strategies. Yes, that’s what I said: the constant need to address student problems and confusions taps us professors out, leading to “emotional exhaustion.” (Did I tell you guys about the student with severe emotional problems who sat in my office every week last semester talking about everything that was wrong?) The article mentions other things, too — including a lack of university acknowledgment of family/life needs (like when they demand we attend all those 8am or 6pm meetings); as well as flattened and compressed salaries, leading to serious financial pressures.

But I’m not all doom & gloom today: I got a fellowship for next year. !!! This means a year of thinking, writing, researching, and staying out of Dodge such that I might even finish a draft of that new book. And blogging. And a respite from the meetings, the tedious drama of departmental meetings, the inevitable debriefings in our offices after faculty meetings, the griping, the xerox machine that’s always broken.

To celebrate, I’m hoping to finally finish my long, long writeup of Claire Denis’ White Material within a day or so. And then I can start thinking about what to pack.

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