Professors’ jobs not as easy as may seem

By Danny Cozzi

Starting off a semester right — and staying on track — is a struggle students and professors share.

Professors, whose jobs students don’t often see beyond the lecture hall, have more to do than thump a textbook and talk at a sleep-deprived, coffee-fueled mass of students.

My pre-semester ritual involves days of complaining and making bitter remarks about textbook price tags.

As the first weeks trudge slowly by, I adjust to a daily routine and a precise sleeping schedule so I can rest for as long as possible.

Professors, on the other hand, endure different stresses as the semester progresses.

Philosophy professor Mylan Engel said preparing for the spring semester is more difficult than preparing for the fall.

Engel said compared to summer break, winter break provides only a few weeks to organize coming classes.

The shorter break for Engel includes finishing final grades from the fall, putting together syllabi for spring classes and writing projects he does independently.

“It’s pretty much a crunch time,” Engel said.

Preparation is just part of the struggle. I didn’t know how hectic maintaining Blackboard accounts for classes can be until Engel shared the woes and tribulations for students’ best online tools.

“It adds hours of work to my work week every single week,” Engel said. “I think it’s worth the extra time.”

Engel, who has five Blackboard accounts to manage this semester, told me he more or less has to create the Web pages from scratch.

Discussion boards, eReserve readings and syllabus links are all there because he takes the time to put the page together and upload the content.

“None of those things are there, so you have to go in and create them,” Engel said.

In that moment, all of my confused frustration with professors who have avoided Blackboard like the bubonic plague made sense, as if the universe shared a secret with me.

Managing one can get stressful, or at least annoying.

“I check [Blackboard] at least once a day,” said Ian Eichelberg, freshman mathematics education major.

Logging in as often as possible is good a way to stay organized, and it shows professors’ efforts aren’t in vain.

“The only thing I wish is that there was another alert to let you know that there is a message on Blackboard,” said Anthony Collins, senior media studies major.

The site isn’t perfect, which might be why some teachers don’t use it.

But it’s important to remember that even if they don’t, our educators are often swamped with as much work — and possibly more — as students are.

With the plight of the educator exposed, it’s time students and teachers understand one another’s semester struggles.