It does not go better than it does in some classes, some days, because I do not put enough into it, and when I say put enough into it, I do not necessarily mean time. I certainly do not mean I believe in using teaching as an excuse not to write.
I am conflicted about teaching, though, because I was always warned so much that academia wasn’t about teaching, which I knew, and so I thought that it must be even less about teaching than I realized. And I think a lot of the advice I received was sabotage.
And in real life, academia is about teaching, a lot, and I feel guilty that my experience does not fit with what I was told. Not that it should have. I feel guilty because I feel I have betrayed someone by perceiving what I perceive.
So, do you think most academics go into it primarily for teaching? I didn’t — I could have gone secondary or CC — I went into it for the whole thing, the entire intellectual enterprise, and I always assumed that research was first. One knew these things.
But I kept being told, don’t spend too much time teaching, we’re sure you are conspiring to spend too much time teaching, and I feel sort of bad about giving it the time it needs. Yet if I don’t, I don’t do well, and I don’t think I really spend too much time.
I warn you this, don’t that, I know you’ll this, but you must that. So many exhortations, so many assumptions of incompetence, and also so much silence in response to actual questions. And I think a lot of the “friendly” advice I received was really discouragement.
This is why I feel so often that there is no firm ground upon which to step — everything is a trap door. I am frozen in — childhood perhaps and I want to relax out of it, onto the land.