Response to "Your workload could be aging you"

We have received many responses to our blog post regarding workload and stress. Below is one, posted with permission but with the name removed.

As part-time faculty, I taught 5-6 classes, then was hired as full-time faculty.  I now teach 7 courses each semester which are weighted at 17.5 credits.

All classes in my department have between 12-19 students, and there is homework and advising each week.  This past fall, in the first 7 weeks of the semester, I averaged 34 hours a week of out-of-classroom grading time in order to stay on top of my classes. I know this because I kept track on a spreadsheet through October until I stopped tracking because it was taking up too much time.  To date, I still grade at home most Fridays, Sundays and Mondays all day. I am not a slow reader, I am a fast typer, and I do all my grading and assignment reviews electronically via OL.

Because of the nature of the courses I teach, the subject matter must stay relevant which means I also must try to stay current and abreast of what's happening in the music industry. My classes are discussion/lecture based with writing-based homework, in-class activities, reading, and a quiz each week.

Even with the hours spent grading I will say that I love my job, I love my students, I have terrific departmental colleagues and a concerned chair (who is also overworked). I feel blessed and proud every day that I work at Berklee. However, if it were not for the fact that in a few years I plan to take my summer off, I'm not sure that I could keep going at this pace.  Just ask my husband - he is basically a bachelor almost every weekend while I grade, and grade, and grade.  The worst part is that I have very limited time for practicing and thus, my performing has definitely taken a hit.

So, I don't know what talking about all this accomplishes, but thought I'd respond.  The hours I and my colleagues spend grading are under discussion in our department, and we are trying to address the situation. My hope is that as I become a more experienced teacher, I will also come up with creative ways to lessen the work load (although if you have 30 - 45 writing assignments per section per week, there is no way to cheat reading/reviewing each one and giving feedback).

Thanks for listening - I am always impressed with how much the union does for faculty and know this is an especially important year,

Kind regards,

Please USE YOUR NAME when commenting, to facilitate constructive discussion. Also, remember that this is a PUBLIC and searchable web site that can be seen by anyone: colleagues, department chairs, students, etc. Comment thoughtfully.