When I talk to others in my field, there are many conversations we have about the state of things. Some good, many bad. The strains on the economy have been brutal to higher education. Although we are thankful to be working, we feel very dispirited as a group and moral is low.
A year ago I would have told you that I wanted to stay in this field, teaching college English, but I wasn't really sure how it would work. The full-time job prospects suck and the part-time market is mayhem and even a good career is a frantic one. But, I wanted it. Now, I only want some of it. At times I feel under-qualified, and I know this is common in all careers. I don't think any amount of education will qualify me; the demands of our students our too great some days.
The biggest issue I have and the thing I know I don't want to do for the rest of my life and thus not for the rest of my career is: commenting on essays and homework. I seriously don't know if I can finish the stack of 100 essays--good and mostly interesting essays written by students I like--I have on the floor next to me. I've been reading all weekend. I can read, but the comments. I've got things in my brain. I could maybe give some advice. But I DON'T FUCKING ever want to write comments again.
You know how you hear stories about how one day a guy just can't go into the plant or into the mine or something like that again. Dude, I'm not going in the mine. Or, I'd rather go in the mine than comment on an effing paper. I feel a fizzle in the frontal lobe of my brain when I'm required to do so and it's mush. I can't keep myself in the chair. I'm talking to the dog. It's no good. I've got conferences with students tomorrow and I'm contemplating bed at 7pm, all to avoid writing comments.
Writing comments on essays and working in a coal mine may not seem comparable, but any work can feel like drudgery. The Adam Carolla Podcast has not been very good lately, for a variety of reasons, but a great one was of he and Mike Rowe chatting about work. I love that Mike Rowe. I just wish commenting on essays, even the way I do it, didn't feel like such a dirty job.