This post from Profhacker has been sitting in my brain all day. In part it has been sitting because I spent a couple of hours answering chat reference questions followed immediately by a couple of hours of teaching which meant that I couldn’t do any more than leave it in my brain to poke at me during down times
It’s taken me a few years to fully reconcile myself to the fact that for about 30 minutes directly following a class, I am so wired up that I am really unable to do much of anything. I can’t effectively write, grade, or even respond to email.
I too am wired after teaching, and whether it’s an hour of teaching or four hours in a row, I find that the wired-ness of it all is quickly followed by a crash-period.
One day a week, I teach two sections of a class that meets weekly. Some of my co-workers don’t understand why I am willing to add another few sections of one-shot sessions on those days. Why not spread it out? The reason is simple – as long as I’m still teaching, the adrenalin will see me through but I’m going to crash when I’m done regardless. I’d just rather deal with it once, instead of every day for a week.
Which I have always assumed is due in part to my introversion. I love the interacting with people in the classroom, but it does wear me out. Which got me thinking – a LOT of librarians are introverts. A lot of librarians who teach and who love it and who are good at it are introverts. But unlike most people who teach, we have very little control over our schedules. Yes, a few of us get to teach credit courses but an awful lot of teaching that we do is of the one-shot variety. We teach when the classes are and I know from talking to a lot of instruction librarians that many of us are motivated enough to get the chance to interact with students that we would rarely say “no, the timing of that session just won’t work for me.”
My personal hell – teach at 9 am and then not again until mid-afternoon or later. Two totally different amp-up and crashes.
So the Profhacker post is part of a larger body of advice – about tailoring your schedule (or schedules) and being mindful of your energy levels and your needs when you do so. How can we do that in library instruction? How can we be intentional as a program or department of library teachers and work together to do this? I don’t know if there are answers, but it’s something to think about as we (if we) move away from traditional liaison models and start collaborating and cooperating within our institutions to maximize what we can do as librarian teachers.