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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reckoning Time; or, How I've Spent the Past Week

Counts as working: Answering email from students
Fake working: Putting down the paper you're grading, mid-paragraph, to pop over to your faculty email account to see if there are any new messages

Counts as working: Sitting on the couch under a fleecy blanket, grading papers
Fake working: Sitting on the couch under a fleecy blanket with a pile of ungraded papers in your lap and a pencil in hand while "someone else" in the room is watching 30 Rock

Counts as working: Setting up a blog under your real, professional name because you've required your students to use a blogging platform for part of their semester's writing
Fake working: Staying up until 1am tinkering with the blog widgets to make the site prettier! and shinier! and more awesome!

Counts as working: Writing letters of recommendation for students applying to scholarships/jobs/advanced degree programs
Fake working: Re-reading letters of recommendation from five years ago and wondering where that one particularly brilliant student is now

Counts as working: Creating a Twitter account in your real, professional name because you've just signed on to be a monthly contributor to the online version of an Important Professional Journal
Fake working: Staying up until 1am trying to get your avatar photo to upload not sideways and endlessly reworking the 160-character bio

Counts as working: Staying up until 1am revising the syllabus from the last time you taught this class (five years ago) to make it both more intellectually focused and slightly less demanding (read: tone down that crazy Victorian reading load)
Fake working: Rereading whole portions of Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur in order to be absolutely sure you've assigned the right books as excerpts

Counts as working: Reading relevant scholarly articles to prepare to teach that one Browning poem you haven't taught before
Fake working: Getting interested in that wacky personal detail about Browning mentioned in a footnote in one of the articles, and spending 45 minutes reading online about the Brownings' Italian years

Counts as working: Taking a five-minute brew-a-cup-of-tea break after every two quizzes you finish writing
Fake working: Checking Facebook while drinking your five-minute cup of tea, and coming back to the quiz-writing an hour later

Counts as working: Uploading to the online course companion the essays you've assigned to your students
Fake working: Calling the online course companion Help Desk to complain about how no browser interfaces actually enable you to do all the things the system requires, and so you have to bop back and forth between Safari and Firefox, and then restart Firefox every time it times out saving a page (i.e. every time you save a page), and talking to someone who seems to be in India and who gives you a lot of useless information and sends you an email about how to fix the problem that doesn't actually fix the problem but makes you even more frustrated so that now you can't even get any work done anyway and probably better make a cup of tea to calm yourself down

Counts as working: Making a To Do list for the two days you work from home each week
Fake working: Putting "organize Documents folder" or "rearrange files" at the top of the To Do list, so that it takes 6 hours to get through the first item, and all the teaching prep gets crammed into Sunday night

Counts as working: Installing RescueTime Robot on your computer to help keep you accountable for the time you spend distracted online instead of working on the course websites, library databases, and other online platforms you need
Fake working: Writing a blog post about how you are going to be so much better this semester at staying focused while working, even though it's so easy to be distracted when so much of your work has to happen online anyway

3 comments:

Fawn said...

It takes time to change habits. And the Internet is crack.

MommyTime said...

Fawn, you are generous in that interpretation of me. Thank you. Also, you are very funny.

And, the Internet IS crack.

Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian said...

So funny! I have definitely experienced quite a few of these things myself while working/trying to work.

 

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