Okay, some of you are probably wondering what I do all day… you know, flexible schedule and all. There is this rumor that college teachers have it easy… well, I would say we have it good… but not necessarily easy.

  • We do get a flexible schedule… and that is wonderful… everyone should have the ability to say, I’m going to work from 4am to 1pm and then spend the rest of the day in the sun if that’s what you desire.
  • However, it is near impossible to take a week off any time but Christmas and the summer, which means you may not get to attend weddings, family reunions, or other events that get scheduled by “non-teaching” folks.
  • You get the summer off (sometimes)… that depends on the school, how much you get paid, and whether you have taught your full load for the year or not.
  • You also work at home, making it difficult to separate work and personal life. You check your personal email, you check your work email. I am constantly reminded that this is odd behavior in the business world, as people in business do not send “work” emails on the weekend, but I always get emails from other instructors and students on the weekend.
  • You may not have to physically appear at work all five days of the week (I only go in Mon-Thursday).

A day at the “office” (for the record… it’s Sunday!)

  • When you’re working, and you’re busy, it is very difficult to leave your work at work. You always think about the classes you are teaching, how to teach something in a better way, whether you remembered to return that email, grade that stray paper, etc.
  • Many of the teachers that I know do not sleep well. Managing the work of 50-150 students each semester, the mental exercise of preparing for a class, reflections on what needs to be “tweaked” etc. will keep you up all night.
  • You may not have to physically appear at work for eight hours a day. Because I am teaching so many classes with online components, I only have to report to work for 13 hours a week. (that said, I often spend my whole day on either Saturday or Sunday at the office, and a lot more than 13 hours during the week (46 hours at the office last week… note that does not include the time spent on work but at home)… and as anyone who works with me can attest, I can generate quite a bit of work via email from wherever I am.
  • You are completely and totally exhausted by the end of the semester. I always get horrifically sick about two days after the semester ends… every semester. I get sick on spring break almost every semester.

So, there are downsides, but overall, I do think that college instructors do have it good. Having the freedom to make some of the decisions about what you do and when you do it is, I think, essential to being able to love your job. Everyone should be so lucky.

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