26 March 2017 by Lisa Meloncon

This week during Mentor Monday  (on 3-20) I asked for best strategies to motivate students at this point in the term. For those of us on typical semesters (no matter the January start time), now is the point in the term that students get a little cranky due to projects and papers and well, just life. From a related group, #medrhet, Colleen Derkatch offered a great suggestion:

Colleen’s tweet reminded me that this job often makes us feel isolated and in many cases, like we’re the only one going through things. So what’s the point, you ask? We have to be more transparent about our own struggles.

Having worked so long in industry, often in a project manager type role, being direct and honest about problems always helped get them resolved quicker, easier, and less costly. I’ve maintained this sort of attitude in higher education. This job is hard, but it is definitely made easier when we share our struggles in an effort to find effective ways to deal with them. And more so, sharing enables us a measure of reassurance and support that we are definitely not alone.

Another example from Twitter and Facebook this week: the fact that many of us experience post-conference doldrums brought on from all sorts of factors. With a lot of us at ATTW and the CCCCs recently, we started this past week in something of a hole, from being tired, to feeling (or being) more behind, to the adrenaline let down of being back to our normal lives, to….all sorts of other things too! Knowing that others have emotional, affective, and embodied reactions to coming home from conference travel definitely helps us all ease back into our day-to-day lives.

So here are a few other things to consider that are the same as other folks:

  • Writing is hard. Even for those people who make it look effortless, it is hard.
  • Editing and revising can be even harder.
    Nota bene: because writing, editing, and revising is hard everyone of us puts it of, whines about it, drinks to much coffee or wine or [insert favorite beverage here], struggles to get the words on the page or the words revised on the page. Starting is always the hardest, but for some, finishing is even harder. These are truths. Truths we share.
  • Departmental politics can be stressful no matter if you’re in your first year or your 20th . The level of stress and the kind of stress simply changes.
  • Figuring out when to say no (and yes) is always challenging.
  • Our students impress, inspire, frustrate, challenge, and host of other things on most every day of the term. In a single 3-hour class, I can experience all of these things. That’s the joy of teaching.
  • Please go easy on yourself when you’re perfectly arranged schedule goes to hell because it truly does happen to all of us (sometimes multiple times in a week!).

Sharing our struggles and challenges and problems means that we’re making parts of the job that have long been hidden more transparent. It’s ok to not be ok. Talking about it is the first step in understanding the situation and your reaction to it and then figuring out the steps to move forward.

One of the founding principles for WomeninTC is having a community in which to find support and encouragement for all aspects of this job.

So remember that someone out there is probably feeling the same thing as you. But there’s always a circle around you.
















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