For those keeping count: that's seven (7) A words in the title. I think I will stop there.
A friend of mine is team-teaching a class with another professor this term. I have written before about the benefits and perils of team-teaching. In fact, there are many different ways to organize a team-taught class. For example, team-teaching faculty in my department are encouraged to attend all classes of a team-taught course. In real life, however, faculty use at least some of the time when their fellow-teacher is teaching to get other things done (e.g. research, travel).
In the case of my friend, he and his team-teacher decided to organize the course in such a way that they mostly only go to the classes they themselves are teaching. Most recently, the other professor has been teaching for the past 2 weeks, but my friend returned to teaching the course this week.
As he was setting up his teaching materials at the front of the classroom, a student sitting near the front said:
Did you have fun on your vacation?
My friend, a very good-natured person except when insufficiently caffeinated, laughed in a considerable way at this question, and explained to the student that he had not been on vacation.
The student wanted to know what he was doing, then, if not teaching. There were still a few minutes before class, so my friend briefly explained about the research component of a professor's job at a university such as this one and mentioned he was writing a proposal to obtain research funding, and that proposal-writing was a very time-consuming activity. A proposal to do what? the student wanted to know, so my friend dove into an explanation of the proposed research.
I am glad they had this conversation. Perhaps there is now one less student at this university who is unaware that most professors here teach and do research*. Perhaps now there is one less student who thinks that when professors are not teaching, if only for a day or week or two, they must be on vacation or, at the very least, in a state of suspended animation in their professor pod, waiting to be re-activated just in time to put on their professor suit and head to class via the secret professor tunnels.
* In fact, I found this question surprising. I thought most students thought that we professors mostly did research and only occasionally emerged, with great reluctance, from our labs to mutter a few incomprehensible words to a class. It is quite possible, however, that I do not know what most students think. Another hypothesis is that many students think professors primarily do research, many students think professors primarily teach, and there are 7 (± 1.5) students who know that professors' jobs are divided among research and teaching and service in various proportions.
6 months ago