I am told that at R-1 institutions the percentages of time one is to dedicate to research, teaching, and service are 60-30-10. At the R-1 institution I worked for it was 30-60-10 and in my current job it is the same. We are to spend 12 hours on each course, and with three courses that makes 36 hours or 60% of the 60 hours we work. Then there are 18 hours left for research and 6 for service.

I was trained to do 60-30-10 and it is what I like. But even when doing 30-60-10 you have to put research first. I did that for four years and it was good. Then that 30 got taken up by Reeducation, and then by dealing with the aftermath of Reeducation. It is hard to get it back because Reeducation essentially killed the person who had research time. But I want it.

This year, basing myself on our template, I will schedule service Wednesdays from 3-6 and 7-10 PM. Some weeks, I will reschedule it, but I will not schedule more. I have four courses so I must prepare, teach, grade and hold office hours for each one in 9 hours per week. That is already 42 hours and more time is needed for those classes. This means some research a little recreation time will have to go to teaching — at least some weeks.

On this model there are 18 hours for research and writing. This all presupposes 6 10-hour days, though, and I do not know that I will always put those in. That would be 8-12, 1-5, and 8-10 six days and I could do it in another town and another living situation but I have some commuting issues and some house and yard work, and I am just not sure. Yet I want 15 hours a week, but I would be happy with 12 or even a consistent 6.

I spend a lot of time on other things to tell the truth I normally do:

8-12, 1-5 M (8)
8-12, 1-5 8-10 T, W (20)
8-12, 1-4 Th (7)
8-12, 1-4 F (7) … which is 42 hours.

I need to push more and I would do that in a different setting. I try to do it here but I end up managing and recovering from claustrophobia. A very great portion of my problem with these matters is atmosphere and setting, and the next great portion is attitude toward self. The issue is task, not time management, and care for the self.

Version 1: Living in New York. 8-12, 1-5, 8-10 every day but Sunday; Sunday off. Excellent. I would love this.
Version 2: Living here and pushing.

8-12, 1-5, 8-10 or 9-11 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday;
8-12, 1-5 Thursday, Friday;
8-10 Saturday;
8-12, 1-5 Sunday… and I could move some of these blocs around if I like.

How many hours is this? 10 M, T, W = 30; 8 Th, F = 16; 10 on the weekend. That adds up to 56 and this is close enough to 60 for me. It is only setting that is stopping me so I will work on that. I think that to this end I really should buy the table I have been eyeing, if it is still there.

There are also appointments, like car appointments, that will come up and require me to adjust this plan, move the blocs of time around. I will get a planner like a Franklin planner — I do not want butcher paper on the refrigerator, which was what I used for this in the old days, so I will have a planner and I will do this.

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5 Responses to Time

  1. Thank you for this post! I find it VERY useful to see how other people schedule their time.

    For me, the main issue is always not to get too bogged down in teaching. I’m one of those people who will assign endless writing assignments to huge classrooms and then drown in grading. I also over-prepare classes like crazy. Who needs 3 back-up activities for a 50-minute class? So this semester, I’ll control my obsession with teaching.

    It sound from the post that you teach 4:4 or 4:3. Do you? That’s a lot. I normally do 3:3 and find that excessive.

  2. Z says:

    We’re officially 3:3 but I, being insane, have a small Portuguese class as a fourth course, volunteer (under 5 students). Why: because they are interested and we can have a normal language course, which is good for my mental health since the Spanish language courses are quite disastrous from my point of view. (I’d rather teach English composition or other things, too, as service teaching than a foreign language, but such is not my fate.)

    I’ve done 2-2 and 2-3 and one year, 2-1 which was truly great. But I like 2-2. I find 3-3 to be double the work of 2-2. With 4 full courses you can do nothing else but service; there are instructors here who teach 5-7 and this is only possible because it keeps being the same courses, so there is no preparation.

    I no longer over prepare but that’s because I’ve been at it so long. There are courses I could teach in my sleep now, practically, and still be better than I was when I started because I know more. I do bog down though, because of assigning work as though I were on a 2-2 and you just can’t.

    I have real issues about teaching because I was always so exhorted by my father that if I spent time on it I wouldn’t have research time, and so on. So I’m scared working on it because I think I am digging my grave. Yet I am also scared not to because I have the kind of job where you have to.

    On a 2-2 in a well run department you have time for everything, including your life — you really do — and in those situations I’ve always felt like a real adult, made good calls about how much time I should put into it or not, In 3-3 and up there is always pressure and I often make errors estimating time needed, time available, and so on.

  3. Z says:

    Also, this year, I actually want to prepare MORE, but do it very strategically. Time is to go into preparing class and not into grading.

  4. Z says:

    Also – note that this is an ideal use of time that is hard to attain. Prepping those classes takes more time, service obligations one can’t get out of come up, fixing computers come up, and then there’s one’s mundane life that also comes up … and where I live even having fun takes more time because you have to commute to it and so on.

    So, my goal is to try to actually work this many hours, and to do so efficiently. I still won’t get everything done and I still will have a drain on my research hours. But I want to work up to fixing it.

    My academic life is stunted since I went through that frozen period, and also because so much of it has always gone to job applications, moving, acculturating. The precariousness takes a lot of energy.

  5. “The precariousness takes a lot of energy.”

    -OMG, you are SO right. At this point, we have no idea whether N. and I will be able to continue to live together or if he will have to move away for work. I feel paralyzed because I can’t make a decision as to whether I want to teach a course next summer or ask for research money to go to Spain, etc. It’s very frustrating.

    And all of the moving and getting used to a new area have been very hard, too.

    As for the teaching load, 2;2 would be absolutely perfect. I’m a bad, self-centered person, which is why I’m now transforming some of my courses into an online version. This will allow me to teach less, so I’m doing it. And to hell with the consequences. And I don’t even feel guilty. 🙂

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