Pretty much everybody I run into asks me “so, are you back yet?” meaning am I back to teaching. Based on prior experience, I expect them to continue asking this question in some form for the next seven years. I think it reflects a wistfulness on their part; they wish they were on sabbatical too, whether they are academics or not. Knowing how irritating this question gets over time, when I run into a colleague I haven’t seen in a while I ask instead “you’re not on sabbatical now, are you?”, as if that phrasing is really any different. I’m eternally wistful too.
This semester I’m teaching two courses, undergraduate Fluids and my favorite, Flow Visualization. Both are MWF, so it feels like I’m always preparing for one or the other, even though I’ve taught both courses 10 times. Fluids has 85 students in it, but really I have 170 students, because I’ve joined forces with Peter Mitrano (a Flow Vis alum) who is teaching the other section. We are sharing homeworks and exams, so it’s like teaching a big course with a co-instructor, although we have separate lectures. Flow Vis has 45 students or so, as usual. This means I have contact with over 200 students, who all would like me to know their names. Oy.
I’ve tried to block out Thursday as my day for uninterrupted work, since all of my PhD students are hoping to graduate this term. I thought there were 3, but I just heard from an ABD (all but dissertation) student from a few years ago who now wants to finish. That is one big pile of theses.
Wish me luck.
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