Hunters and Gatherers, Part One

Or Why Women Are Smarter Than Men…


n these Xanga pages, I often complain about the amount of work I am assigned. I am not trying to elicit your sympathy–although a few pats on the back go a long way in alleviating my frustrations, such as they are. But the reason why I complain so much here is because I cannot complain elsewhere.

As a post-secondary instructor, there are a lot of demands placed on me/us. Despite what the President may say about how strong our economy is–he’s so full of it–education is suffering from lack of funds and budget cuts. As a result, colleges demand professors to teach more classes with greater enrollment. There was a time when the powers that be would encourage courses with only 6 or more students for an advanced upper division course to grow a little larger, but now anything under 10 student is red-flagged as under-enrolled and immediately under threat of being cut from the curriculum. We are not like Spanish or Calculus or Bio–fields of studies in which students seemingly enroll automatically–so we must constantly do our best to make our courses interesting and challenging at all times. This semester, I taught:

  1. Classical Japanese–8 students, six quizzes, midterm, final.
  2. J-Lit in Translation–31 students, weekly quizzes, 5 short papers, final
  3. J-culture through Film–50 students, weekly quizzes, 4 short papers, final.
  4. Proseminar–3 students, one senior thesis (25-30 pages).
  5. Internship advisor–1 student, one final paper (25-30 pages).

That is 93 students I am responsible for, and a hell of a lot of grading. Many have suggested that I cut down on the number of assignments–not surprisingly, many students make this suggestion–but I insist that if they don’t do the assignments, they will learn nothing, and I refuse to have any of my students finish my course without having learned something. So I do what I do.

But the powers that be will come up to me and ask, “So why aren’t you doing research? Why aren’t you publishing anything?” As if I had that kind of time…

So frustration builds up and I wanna scream bloody hell, but I can’t… because I have a colleague who is under the same pressure as me, the some workload as me… but still manages to publish. I wonder all the time, How the hell does she do it? She’s making me look pretty bad… I once talked to a colleague from another department and he explained it thusly: She’s a woman

to be continued…