Friday, January 28, 2011


If you've come to this post expecting a deeply thought-out treatise (don't you love that word? I had to look it up to make sure I was using it correctly) about political freedom, religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, or a particular women's product, you've come to the wrong place.

I'm not that deep tonight. I've bored Hubby to tears with this topic, so you're next on my list. I can't promise I won't post about it again this time next Friday, which is when I wax most poetic (nauseous?) about this topic.

I knew when I gave up my part-time online teaching job that it would free up some of my time. It takes time not only to grade assignments, but also to set up the courses, check the links, work ahead of the students so I can anticipate things that might give them trouble, and make sure all the quizzes and discussion topics are embedded correctly. Then there's the time spent calling parents about failing students, taking calls from confused students, and documenting attempts to contact absent students. Assignments were due at 5:00 PM on Fridays, and I always tried to get everything graded by then. Guess when the majority of students wanted to turn their work in? Right at 5:00. Or maybe just a few minutes after, to see just how serious we really were about the deadline. I would invariably get the dropbox empty of assignments, only to turn around and have 5 more things in there within 30 minutes.

Being caught up in the online world was a nebulous concept. Some students wanted to call at 4:45 on Friday afternoon to let me know they didn't know how to do a particular assignment. Some PARENTS wanted to call at 4:45 on Friday afternoon to let me know THEY didn't know how to do a particular assignment.

I think you get the picture. When I decided to give the job up, I knew it would free up some of my time. (Yes, I realize I already said that.) What I didn't realize was that it would free up so much of my MIND.

The feeling of freedom now that I don't have that job anymore is enormous. ENORMOUS. I can't even begin to describe it.

The closest thing I can think of is the feeling I experienced the first Sunday morning after I submitted the final copy of my dissertation. Sunday mornings were heavy writing days, since Hubby had to work and I had the house to myself. I wrote furiously on Sunday mornings, trying to earn some personal free time in the afternoons.

That's how I've been feeling almost every day since I stopped teaching online. I come home every afternoon and don't have to get on the computer immediately. I don't have to dread the sound of my cell phone ringing (I had a distinctive ringtone assigned to my online students and their parents so I knew whether or not to answer the phone if it didn't happen to be convenient). I don't have to bargain with myself about how much Wii time or quilting time I can have before I have to do schoolwork. I don't have this little voice whispering in my ear, "You should check to see if any work has been turned in or if you have any emails regarding student problems."

I can go to a gymnastics meet and not wonder when I'm going to make up the time I've been goofing off and not grading work. I can surf the internet without feeling that I'm neglecting my work. I can even take a nap and not worry that when I get back on the computer, I will be overwhelmed with work. I can take a weekend bicycling trip without having to jump on the internet as soon as I jump off the bike. I can take a cruise without paying two hundred dollars for using the internet OR having over a hundred assignments in the dropbox when I get back.

I'm free to do what I want to. Mostly.

I feel as though I've been given a huge gift EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

The online work wasn't hard, and every time they come calling, I find myself thinking, "Sure, I can do that. It's not like I have to follow a schedule or anything."

I'm going to bookmark this post and make myself reread it if they call me to teach online again. No amount of money is worth giving up this incredible stressless feeling of freedom.

Your job is to remind me too.

1 comment:

DJan said...

Wow! Now that is something to appreciate: not being bound all the time to a job that never ends. I'm glad to hear you have made the decision not to do this any more. Way more fun to read about this than some dry and boring treatise... :-)