I have moved twice since the last time I posted a blog. I have an alert on my phone from October 31st telling me to write a blog, and that was already after a 3-month gap. I guess I dropped the ball a little bit. There are many things that I could talk about, but I will just stick to one topic for this blog, in the hopes that I can start posting more frequently. In this post, I give the primary reason for my lack of posting: my new job.
I heard a funny (or so I thought) saying about teaching sometime in the last year or so. It was something along these lines: "Being a teacher is great because you have a very flexible schedule: I can work whichever 60 hours per week that I want!" Man, I really thought that was a joke. I chuckled to myself a little bit. It was not going to be that bad for me.
Well, I didn't keep track of hours exactly, but for my first semester teaching at MBU teaching took a huge amount of time. Planning lectures for 3 different courses that I had never taught from textbooks I had never read kept me busy pretty much every day. It ate every bit of what could have been free time after Lucas went to sleep. Most weeks, I found the time to take one evening off. Sure, I could have worked while Lucas was awake, but I already missed so much time with him while I was at work. Every day when I got home (or sometimes through text while I was still at work) I'd hear from Sharayah all the hilarious things he did, or the new things he learned, or the new things he could do. It was really hard missing so much, so once I got home each day I spent as much time with Lucas as possible. That was the choice I made.
I am truly thankful for my flexible schedule. If I had been offered a job with conventional hours and no work to do in the evenings but no time with Lucas in the morning and being away from home until 5:30 or 6 each day, I would have refused. I got to be with my happy little family in our happy little apartment by 3:30 or 4 every day, and many mornings I didn't have to leave for work until 10. For that I traded my evenings. It was worth it. Of course, in the coming semesters I plan to get the best of both worlds. Eventually, as I start teaching more and more classes that I've already taught before, I will be able to do my lecture planning much more quickly.
(Rereading those paragraphs, I feel like it might come off as though I only miss Lucas while I'm at work. Of course, I miss Sharayah as well, but she doesn't go to bed at 7. I get to spend time with her even while I work at night.)
Hopefully this doesn't come off sounding like I'm complaining. I've really enjoyed teaching this semester, and I know that time-wise it will only get better. As always I had to battle against the strange apathy of many students (why would you pay to go to college and then make no effort to learn anything?), but I also had students who put in huge amounts of effort, in particular in an upper-level pure math class that I taught. For most of them, it was their first theory and proof-based math class (as opposed to a computational math class), which is always a very difficult step. I think most universities start proof earlier on in easier classes, but these students had really had no experience with proof. Many of them coped with it impressively. However, I am still proposing a few classes to be added to the math program to better prepare students for this and other upper-level proof-based courses. I have some pretty big plans for the math program here. Hopefully I'll be here for a long while.