2013-02-22

Sabbatical and teaching

Being exempt from teaching is supposed to be one of the greatest benefits of a sabbatical. I hoped that I would be able to dedicate all the time otherwise spent for teaching to my own study. But unfortunately, human psychology does not seem to work so simply according to mathematical calculation. Actually, I have already started to miss teaching. I am also comparing the benefit of being exempt from teaching with that of spending time for teaching.

It is true that I have difficulties in teaching if I have to cope with those who are not motivated and/or have not been taught what not to do in class. But if (the majority of) the students in class are motivated (and know how to behave in class), I benefit from interacting with them, as this interaction can stimulate my mind and give me all kinds of new ideas. I realize this now so clearly as I have not been away from teaching for such a long time in the past two decades.

I also notice another benefit of teaching. It keeps me busy, so I am more aware of time management. When we know that we can use 24 hours every day solely for ourselves, many of us, including myself, of course, are liable to use the time less efficiently. And unfortunately, this is exactly what I do. In other words, many people, again including myself, can be more self-disciplined, ironically when we are busier, though, of course, there is a limit to our busyness.