May 10, 2008

Summertime freedom ... sort of, and not quite yet

I've spent much of the last week tying up odds and ends, from my part in our department's annual reviews to finalizing a syllabus and looking at some data. Now it's into the summer... sort of. I am relieved that my class this summer is an all-day Saturday affair in June and July, not because I love teaching all-day sessions but because I'm not starting my classes in the crazy month of May, when I have the birthdays of both offspring, Mother's Day, and our anniversary, not to mention the end-of-school concerts and other stuff. Let me just mention the end of the upcoming week: on Thursday is my daughter's chorus concert. Thursday is also my son's harp recital at school. Friday is my son's harp recital for his private harp teacher (but he's also playing oboe there). Friday, I'm also supposed to be in Orlando for the FEA governance board meeting. Those of you with children know the routine: my spouse and I split the Thursday concerts, and I don't head to Orlando until after the recital. Saturday night, I return after the governance board meeting, because Sunday afternoon is the concert for the youth orchestra my daughter's in. I'd also like to go to the Florida Orchestra concert next weekend, but there's no chance of that. Add in other school-related events, private music stuff, the birthdays, anniversary, and Mother's Day, ... and I'm glad I'm committed to a formal exercise program, or I'll go crazy.

For the rest of the summer, it's a more relaxed schedule for my family. As usual, I'm not sure I really get a break. Yes, I'm not teaching until June, and it's one course only, but there's union stuff, journal editing, and my own research. Throughout my university, summer this year is going to involve more free time for USF faculty and students, because USF distributed less money for summer teaching than it did last year. Most tenure-track faculty will use the extra time to do research, and maybe relax a bit. Unlike Margaret Soltan, I don't think most new faculty can look forward to a relaxed life. But that's a complicated subject, it may reflect the different institutions where we teach, and if faculty are busy in the summer when not teaching a full load, it's because of self-imposed discipline.

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Posted in The academic life on May 10, 2008 10:19 AM |