Academic common room
exhausted after lectures
lookingouttosea · 30/01/2020 13:23
I am fairly new to lecturing and I'm teaching 2 classes, one UG one PG for either 2 or 3 hours. I am just so exhausted afterwards I find even after lunch and coffee I can't concentrate on the rest of my work (work which requires concentration). I'm only part-time and have young children who don't sleep well. The days I get to work I must work during that time, so I need to find a way to wake up. Any tips? Will this die down as I get more used to lectures?
aridapricot · 30/01/2020 13:29
I certainly found it gets better (I've now been teaching for 12 years althogh only taught tutorials in the first couple of those). Is there any way you can break up the lecture to get a bit of a rest? e.g. give them a question and ask them to discuss it in pairs, or give them some group task, etc.
lookingouttosea · 30/01/2020 14:14
Thanks @aridapricot. Yes, I suppose I should try and think of some kind of activity for them to do. I also give breaks but I'm still ready for a nap afterwards. Not like I have an office where I can close my eyes either as I'm part-time/casual so I have to go to the library to work (trying to avoid sitting beside my students). I'm sure it'll get easier with time.
parietal · 30/01/2020 17:39
i'm always pretty tired after lectures and make sure I schedule time for a cup of tea & cake. I also use that time to add some notes to my slides for next year on what worked / didn't work in the lecture. If I add notes while the talk is fresh in my mind, it is much easier to improve the lectures next year.
And 3 hour lectures are very long. even in my 2 hour lectures, I give the students a 10 min coffee break and allow 10 mins at the end of questions. no one can talk or listen for more than 40 mins, so pace yourself and pace them.
Dolorabelle · 30/01/2020 18:26
I've been teaching for 30 years (taught full-time all through my PhD in a teaching fellow job) and I still get tired after a lecture or seminar. I think it's because you use so much mental & emotional energy (as well as physical energy) in pushing through to your students.
I always have to eat after teaching. Try that with a half-hour sit down.
It's probably not helped by badly sleeping DC.
Can you take some time out somewhere to work on getting physically fit? I find this is the best way to deal with the stresses of academic woking life. When I'm physically fit (and I mean really fit via aerobic exercise and strength training) I can cope so much better. And training to (temporary) exhaustion 3 times a week actually means I'm less exhaustted in life generally.
Chemenger · 31/01/2020 11:14
I think with a three hour slot you have to run it more as a workshop, with activities planned in. Your students can't concentrate for an unbroken three hours. They also need opportunities to consolidate what you are saying, otherwise you can't build on material at the beginning of the lecture later. If you get them to do something, even if it is just think about a question for a few minutes then discuss then they will be more actively engaged, and you can take a micro-rest! When you ask them to answer the question don't be afraid to wait for someone to answer, even if it takes a few minutes, resist giving in and answering it yourself.
MaybeDoctor · 31/01/2020 17:21
Close your eyes at intervals as if you are deep in high-level, philosophical meditation?
I think the advice about building in activities is good from both an energy-saving and a pedagogical point of view.
Also spend a bit of time on 'process': do students know all the requirements for handing in assignments etc?
SueEllenMishke · 01/02/2020 08:44
I teach for 5 hours one day a week and I'm absolutely exhausted afterwards.
It does get easier though. I try to build in lots of discussions and peer to peer learning activities.
lookingouttosea · 02/02/2020 12:19
Thank you for all the replies. It's funny - 5 years doing a PhD in order to enter 'academia' and so far its enjoyable work...I like the students and I enjoy the hectic timetable...but my god its the hardest job I've done yet. And not at all well paid compared to other, much easier, jobs where you get to sit at a desk and drink tea and chat to your colleagues. And I think the perception when you're a student is that lecturing is somehow easy and that all lecturers are loaded in good comfortable jobs...ha!
lookingouttosea · 02/02/2020 12:20
Excuse the terrible grammar, I had about 5 hours sleep last night cut up into one hour chunks (teething baby)
NotDavidTennant · 02/02/2020 12:41
You need your own office space for a start. I would be lobbying hard for your own desk somewhere, even if it's in a shared office.
SueEllenMishke · 02/02/2020 12:52
It's best job I've ever had but the most intense, stressful and overwhelming.
You definitely need you own space ...that does help.
lookingouttosea · 02/02/2020 17:21
@NotDavidTennat and @SueEllenMishke thanks, yes my own space would be fantastic. As a casual lecturer, you are paid for the hours you teach but I think the expectation is that you prepare for those lectures at home...but with crazy children that is virtually impossible. As far as I can make out space is an issue. I should ask though. Honestly, i never even see my other colleagues. I turn up, do my lecture and then go to the library to prepare my next one or do my research/write papers etc. Weird set up. Definitely different from anything else I've ever done. I'm used to going into an office at 9 and leaving at 5. I like the flexibility but...it is weird having no space.
gaffamate · 03/02/2020 15:23
I find it exhausting so I try to lobby to have my timetable so all teaching is on one or two days. They're horrible days but then I'm fresh for research for the other days in the week.
I always run 3hr sessions as a 20 min lecture, 20 min task applying knowledge from the lecture but, then 10 min wash up/ group round up of the task, then back into next 20 min lecture slot. Otherwise the students glaze over and you lose them 30 mins in.
AlwaysColdHands · 08/02/2020 08:17
Yep, I’m in the same boat (3 hour lectures, non-sleeping children).
As others say, break it up:
20 mins input, 10 minute paired task; 15 minute input; 10 minute video clip; 15 minute break; input; longer task, etc etc.
Depends how big your group is but mine is approx 40, and sometimes I give them a task that either requires them to go off for 20/30 minutes then report back, or I ‘invite’ them to go and have discussions in the social area or cafe if they’d prefer (classroom is a bit claustrophobic). I find they all clear out when I do this & I get a bit of peace and quiet in the room (in reality, doing e-mails) whilst they’re gone.....
Do what you have to do, it won’t always be like this.
Is there anywhere else on campus you can access that you could retreat to? E.g. a post-grad room, staff development area? Or, we have a kind of non-denominational faith/worship building with quiet rooms.
Best of luck 👍🏻
lookingouttosea · 08/02/2020 17:06
@alwayscoldhands thank you. Yes I really should break up the lectures. I need to get more imaginative. As it is I've just been talking for 45 mins, break for 15, etc.
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