“If I feel depressed I will sing. If I feel sad I will laugh. If I feel ill I will double my labor. If I feel fear I will plunge ahead. If I feel inferior I will wear new garments. If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice. If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come. If I feel incompetent I will think of past success. If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals. Today I will be the master of my emotions.”
- Og Mandino
has been making the rounds on social media for academics. I must admit, it got my back up, the first time I read it. I love teaching, and can’t imagine a more noble profession - so when the author claims to like the academic life, just not the teaching part, the judgmental part of my brain kicked into high gear.
I’ve known many academics - grad students and professors alike - who love to do research, but consider their teaching duties an annoyance. I often thought that such people wanted to be affiliated with universities solely so their research was supported, but that they had little interest in educating the next generation of scholars. Educating their peers, yes, through publications and conferences, but not the up-and-coming adults who’ll be running the world when we’re doddering old crones.
Then I cooled down, and read it again - and this time I really looked at what the author was saying. She acknowledges that teaching is a worthwhile endeavor … just admits that it’s not her favorite thing to do. It’s the “eat your vegetables” of academic life, to her. I can understand this, as writing as research are my “vegetables.”
I’ll admit there are parts of teaching I don’t like - mainly involving grading. I love planning lessons, and interacting with students in the classroom, but grading is always the albatross around my neck. Maybe someday I can make big bucks on the lecture circuit, and lose the never-ending pipeline of essays and exams that are waiting for my attention.
I can appreciate what the author says - there are things that are worth doing well, even if we don’t enjoy them. And we’re all going to find our fulfillment in different ways.
Thank you so much! You just made my day :)