There are two articles in Inside Higher Ed right now– this one and this one— about the academic’s life during the summer. Frankly, I don’t really relate to either one of them, but feel free to read if you’d like.
For me, summer (or really, at EMU, we call this “spring” and then “summer”– that is, there are usually two 7.5 week terms between the fall and winter semesters) is kind of the worst of times, and the best of times. The bad stuff first: whenever I talk with my non-academic-type parents about being done with the winter term, they always assume that I am on “vacation” from the last day of school in April until the first day in late August or early September. Hardly.
Technically, the faculty contract does allow for this kind of approach– that is, technically, I could just disappear completely for four or so months. But practically speaking, this never happens. Inevitably, there are various meetings, and this spring/summer, since I have taken over as the “writing program coordinator,” I am spending a fair amount of time doing various paperwork things and responding to emails from and meeting with future (hopefully) graduate students. I also have a couple of scholarly projects going on, a workshop on blogging coming up (more on that tomorrow or so), some projects having to do with writing.emich.edu, etc.
And then there’s teaching. Basically, I cannot afford to “take the summer off” from teaching, because of a combination of needing the money and the money for teaching at EMU in the summer being too good to refuse. Normally, summer teaching at EMU means working for 7.5 weeks, either the spring or the summer terms, which means that I’d still be “free” for about 8 weeks. But as loyal readers will recall, I worked out a deal where I am teaching an online class this spring/summer for 12 weeks instead of the usual 7.5 weeks. The verdict is still out and there are some “complicating issues” with this particular group of students, but I think that I actually might prefer “sucking it up” and teaching online in the usual 7.5 weeks. My wife is teaching in the regular 7.5 week term and the fact that she only has three class meetings to go has me envious.
But there are the “good times,” too. Work-wise, things are more quiet right now. Teaching only online is good, albeit a bit discombobulating since it makes that line between “work” and “life” even more fuzzy. I do get to play golf about once a week or so, though my game has been quite bad lately. The weather in Michigan this time of year is beautiful. And so forth….
Enough of that though; time to get back to work!