My lack of blogging is due to taking a six week course that felt like being beaten with a bag full of railroad spikes. On top of working full time, which includes traveling every other week at this point, I also took a 6 week course about United States history between 1920 and 1945. The class was a lower level graduate course so I figured it wouldn’t be that difficult. Apparently my perception of a lower level course and the professor’s perception were completely different. Our assignments included reading 9 books in 6 weeks, writing two 12 page papers on two books each, one 16-20 page paper on three books, and presenting a 15 minute lecture. I felt like all of my work was rushed and below my average quality- or at least what I consider quality but they let me stay here so it must not be too bad! I barely had time to think about one thing before I had to get onto the next.
So now I pose the question, at what point do we assign too much in a class? There is a fine line, no doubt, between too little and too much. However, when do we allow for time for the student to absorb the information they are reading and process the knowledge, taking the time to apply it to other information in their mind before we usher them off onto the next assignment? Undoubtedly, I am not the only student in the class that has a full time job since the class was offered in the evening. I was fortunate though to be one of the only students enrolled in the class to not have other classes for which I had responsibilities as well. One, a social studies education student, had a panic attack during break on the first day of class because of the load of work from her education program every night with lesson plans, portfolios and such that were due at the end of the week every week on top of the assignments and reading for this class and two others.
Stress is manifested differently in each person and everyone has their various stress levels. I panicked but I looked at the class as a challenge with my work and unavoidable travel schedule. I walked out of the first class thinking, “Challenge Accepted.” But in less than a year, these are the kinds of problems I will be running into as a teacher. How do I manage my courseloads in the classes I teach so that I can challenge everyone but not overdo it? Likewise, what will I be capable of handling with 4-6 classes? I’ve talked a little bit before about time management, stress management, and migraines. This seems to be a recurring theme, though not only in grad students (and history students!) but life in general.
Today I ordered a Yoga for Stress DVD through my subscription at Yoga Journal. I will let you all know how that works out. Until then, contemplate, what’s my toxic stress level? At what point in the past have I wanted to just throw in the towel and what’s made me get there? How did I get out of that dark place?
This weekend, I will be updating with some book reviews that I’ve owed people for months now and possibly a bit more on the levels of stress.
Until then, enjoy life my friends 😉