The Trending Prof

Anita Woods Ph.D., University Educator

The Calm Before the Storm

In every school year, I have the calm before the storm. The way my lecture schedule works out I am frantically busy teaching in September as well as managing my new teaching assistants and getting into the roll of school.  October is frenzied because of writing exams and delivering quizzes. November is the month where I am manically marking papers.  I finished the biggest marking job last night and I feel strangely free.  But I know the calm will not last for long. I cannot be too relaxed because my biggest teaching loads happen in the second semester. I could really make my life a little easier if I kept the intensity and prepped all my lectures now.  I certainly plan on doing that so that I can survive the new year and make it through with enough energy to finish well in April.  But for today, I am relaxing.

I stress to my students the necessity to give yourself breaks, and small rewards for hard work.  However, I really do need to turn that finger around and point it at myself. This past semester has been crazy, but a lot of that craziness happens because I expect a lot from myself and am not okay with average work.  I didn’t need to apply to another teaching grant, or apply to human ethics for a research project, or apply to a dream job (Gasp! UCSD?? An unreal opportunity).  But I did it anyway.  I am often my own worst enemy when it comes to filling the time with busy-ness.  So today, I relaxed and spent an amazing afternoon with a good friend, made a big meal for friends, bought a latte and tried on cardigans at my favourite shop.  Tomorrow, the work will return.  So before the storm arrives, today I will rest because the next round of teaching challenges will surely show up at my office door in the morning.

To all the teachers out there, happy pre-finals and I hope you also have had a chance to catch your breath.

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