When I was in grad school, I rarely worked past 18:00 on any given day after having finished my quals, and rarely worked on Sundays, excluding grading. When I have had heavy teaching duties, however, I have felt more “overworked.” Consider the following:

My research days in grad school usually started around 08:30 or 09:00. If I had no teaching duties, I rarely stayed at the office much past 17:00, due to various activities that I engaged in (e.g. ulpan, bridge, sporting events, etc.)

When I taught as a grad student, I had much longer days, and occasionally brought homework (i.e. grading and/or prep). This was especially true during my EXCEL teaching in the summer of 2014—and several of my “Character Building Trial” posts deal with this tension.

Several of my blog posts at Stout seemed to complain about the long days that I would spend with prep and grading. Granted, I was probably spending a little too much time trying to “perfect” the lectures.

During this J-Term, I originally thought, “OK, so I’ll teach from 09:00-12:00. I’ll take an hour for lunch, and then have four hours for prep and grading. I should be out each day by 17:00.”


Even with some of the lectures being repeats of older material, I find that I’m doing reflection and modification of what I did previously. I feel that during the next semester, I should typeset my lectures after reflecting on them… similar to how I transferred notes when I was a student at UNL and early at Northwestern. The reflection and rewriting slows me down a little bit. But it’s a good thing!

However, what I find is that I have been leaving most days in January between 17:00 and 19:00, but often bring home grading. For example, today I left at 17:30, but after I finish writing this post and eating dinner (teriyaki salmon and steamed broccoli :)), I will have 23 exams to grade. Hopefully they won’t take too long!

Yet, I don’t feel overworked, since I can still safely take my Saturdays off and have not had to sacrifice weekend or evening activities that I have wanted to do.

It’s still a change, but I am happy with my current situation. I think that the intensity of J-Term is good for my sanity and perspective during the regular semester.


Spring Semester: 13 days

Road Trip: 57 days

Israel: 135 days

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