– Melissa Downes, Mel Michel, Elisabeth Sauvage-Callaghan, and Jeanne Slattery
Partners recently offered its annual retreat, which the four of us organized. One of our exercises was a discussion of what we love about our jobs, which we share here.
What strikes us is that many of us find considerable meaning and value in mentoring students and seeing them grow. This is a value-added career: we see our students change day-to-day, we inspire them, and we open new vistas for them. We see their lives change across time and, as Miguel aptly pointed out, going to college does not just change students’ lives, but the lives of their children and grandchildren!
We also experience considerable intrinsic forms of reinforcement in our work. Melissa gets to share her passion for literature and writing, Steve enjoys performing, and Elisabeth loves creating new ways of teaching French.
Perhaps because this was a retreat of Partners in Teaching (and not Partners in Research), we focused on our teaching as we talked about what we like most about our jobs, rather than our research and writing. Maybe it’s that we think of our jobs first and mostly as teaching; still, as we talked about places that we would like to grow and further develop, many of us talked first and longest about our research and writing.
This past year has brought many frustrations, but we retain those things that bring us meaning and a sense of purpose. Paraphrasing a commenter on a recent article about work habits and workdays (Roberts-Miller, 2014), being a professor is a lifestyle rather than a job. It is not just something that we have to do, but something we want to do. That desire keeps us going.
Roberts-Miller, T. (2014, August 25). 9 to 5. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2014/08/25/essay-working-40-hours-week-academic
Partners in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment is a group of faculty supporting each other’s teaching, learning, and professional development. In addition to editing Hand in Hand, we offer a series of workshops throughout the year and meet informally, generally on a semi-monthly basis. Join us!