This is the third article in this series on finding hidden and unexpected pockets of time to write within your tried-and-true teaching practices. By paying more attention to what we do when we teach, we can spend less time teaching and more time writing without sacrificing quality feedback. Last edition, I wrote about how to streamline student feedback; in this article I will focus on streamlining how you grade student work. In the next and final article of this series, I will explore several ways to enlist student help in meeting your own writing goals while providing a role model as a scholar.
We often think of the December-January holiday break as the midpoint of the academic year. Faculty need recuperative time to gear up for the semester or term, for course planning, fine-tuning, or writing syllabi.
But, what about your own writing projects? In early December, many of my clients need to step away from their daily writing practice to dive into their grading, with final grade deadlines looming. We talk about scheduling for the first week of January, and then we talk about how it will be more likely the second week of January before they sit down to begin writing again. In fact, I start to get a little nervous for them, because I know that come the second week of January, for many of them, the course planning and syllabus fine-tuning will take place that did not happen after the grading in December. And, that is okay. I get it.
However, as you look ahead to classes beginning again in mid-to-late January, what about your own writing? Does it stress you out? If it does, let’s do this instead.
Philip Roth once said, “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” Compared with the popular saying that references good intentions, from a writer’s perspective works-in-progress are certainly the physical remnants of our good, yet unfinished, intentions. But there are a lot of things competing with our time and making it difficult to finish those intended projects.
This week’s collection of articles seems to address some of those issues. For starters, there may be things you want to read that the full text may or may not be worth the time, or you may be managing a heavy teaching load, juggling multiple writing projects, or trying to select the right journal for your work. All well-intentioned, but perhaps resulting in works-in-progress on the highway to hell. Other good intentions in our industry come with their own potential problems or unintended consequences. Some of these are also addressed below, including: giving feedback on academic writing, accepting people with disabilities, blogging efforts, faculty authoring, open access initiatives, and publishing industry mergers.
Whatever path your writing takes you this week, set your mindset and destination for better. Find ways to finish the projects you start, especially those with your best of intentions, and explore new ways to accomplish your writing goals. Happy writing!
Charles F. Howlett is Associate Professor in the Education Division at Molloy College. In 2005, his book, History of the…