Read Rebecca's anthropologically awesome adventures!See reading materials and other websites that makes Rebecca tick!Search through Rebecca's anthropologically awesome adventures!Meet Rebecca and follow her lead!

Fall 2015

Saturday: April 30, 2016

It was a mistake.

I taught two intro physical courses which were fine. I shine best there – I am excited about sharing the class that converted me with others, and I’ve taught it several times to have worked out a lot of the kinks. The students were overall a good group and participated; really, it was a dream. My reviews, as always for that class, were very high.

I taught an intro cultural course online; that just bogged me down too much and I experienced many technical errors that drove my students and I crazy. I even got low reviews from that course, though I am not sure why as the evaluations have not been sent to me. I imagine it is my stance on technical issues – they are the responsibility of the student (I was, of course, directly working with the IT department to try to sort them out, but it was on the student to prove they weren’t just lying; I made it very clear to take screen shots as evidence and I can’t help it if students do not pay attention).

But then I also taught two other courses, neither of which I probably had any business doing, but that is just a symptom of how dysfunctional my department is at the moment. I looked at it like a challenge – I love learning, and this would teach me something I didn’t already know. But it was an overall awful experience because coming off of my 8-week fieldwork and jumping into 5 classes did not allow me to prep in advance. And day after day, I was barely reading ahead, and pulling together lectures. Talk about missing sleep, which really doesn’t help a person cope. But, on its own, that might have been manageable. Might.

But I quickly found out that I did not have the foundation necessary to even teach one of the classes: human biological variation. I knew so little that I spent most of my hours teaching myself. Further, the book I selected was almost only about blood groups. How do you make 7 weeks work of lecture about blood groups? They are different; you find them in different geographical regions; they might protect against different things; I get all that – so? I was so bored, and so lost, that it was a bad combination on top of being so overwhelmed. And the class had all of 5 students, none of them anthropology students, and sometimes up to three wouldn’t show. I couldn’t get them to talk or even be excited on lab days (once we even extracted our own DNA and no one cared at all). It was terrible. Hate is actually the appropriate word I could use. That was my 200 level course. The reviews were meh.

My 400 level course was better – I was in familiar territory with human evolution, but it isn’t my focus. I had I think 7 students, all anthropology majors, and it was better. I struggled with it often, but I liked the material, and the students were much more engaged. I am not sure why, truly, but my reviews were high, with comments such as “the department needs to stop messing around and hire her permanently”, or that “she should get a raise”. Literally, I have no idea where that stuff came from, but it at least helped balance out how I felt with the other class.

I did not have time for anything outside of work. I watched maybe an hour of TV a week to unwind. My brother stayed with us for a month and witnessed my slow demise. I at least used him as an excuse to escape work for a few minutes at a time, but generally my husband and he kept each other company. Boy was not happy about my job, but at least working in an industry often requiring long hours (and being the business owner and sole employee currently), he gets it.

I knew I would never do that again. Yet, I had another semester to get through with my contract, didn’t I? I contemplated quitting so many times – so what if I broke my contract? Academia was not for me. A lot of gloomy google searches took place, and I feel for all the people out there who did have to quit mid-semester.

I spent winter break trying to prep ahead for this semester’s courses – I was excited about them all, but being burnt out is a real mental wall. I did what I could, and knew that right around spring break, I would be right back to where I was in the fall of 2015. More on that later.

See other entries with similar topics:

Leave a remark!

*What is your name?

*What is your email? (Not published.)

What is your web address? (Optional)

(Required fields denoted with *.)

World Map World Map copyright 2011 and beyond