After teaching online for nearly a decade, the question of time management remains an important one. While it may be overused, finding balance between work, family, and self really is critical for one’s mental, and physical state. It is also a question that I continually struggle with (see book link for a great discussion on this).
Are High Class Loads an Excuse to Work Seven Days a Week?
Maybe. I teach for five different schools, and at any given time between 5-9 courses, many of them with a lab component as well. This very fact lends itself to spending many hours each week working (responding to discussions, answering student questions, grading, office hours, etc.). Becoming more efficient in doing what we do as online instructors is an important first step, and one I am still working on. A second consideration is how much interaction, how available do you want to be for your students? Me personally, I make myself very available, perhaps too much. However, students continually tell me how much my feedback, and presence means to them, that it has value for their learning, so I cannot it seems not be so available. It is a choice, my choice, and it is how I assess whether I am doing the best that I can so that my students are successful, not only in my classes, but beyond. All instructors have different criteria that they will use as measuring sticks, and is why the online experience can be so different for students, I hear this all of the time. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? A topic we can revisit later.
Rebirthing of Spirit is in Order
Okay, so I work a lot, yes, but again, much of this is choice, my preference, and my personality (I hate letting things pile up, and like to take care of them a little at a time, which can make taking a complete or two off, problematic). That being said, I have discovered that I need to take that occasional day away from the computer, the technology, the student issues, and refresh my attitude, clear my head, and provide a “reawakening” of spirit (a bit melodramatic I suppose). I escape to the mountains, and hike, and climb, and guess what, I don’t think about work for the day. It is one of the only things that I do that allows me to do this, it is awesome.
Bottom line here is we all need to work in a way that provides us with the knowledge that we are doing a quality job, and are doing all that we can to help our students be successful. We can certainly help ourselves by becoming more efficient at our work, of this there is little doubt. However, we all also need to get away from it all as well, otherwise we could easily end up in a room with padded walls. Here is to you finding your “mountain.”