So, what do professors do all day, anyway?

Some days I am not Dennis. I am Marky McPaper Markerson. Or Meety McMeeter Meetingson. Days that I’m Ready McReader Readerson, it’s not so bad, but only part of that time am I reading for pleasure — I’m often reading to decide whether to teach a particular text, or wondering whether I should teach Flannery O’Connor again or swap her out for someone else, or reading someone else’s instructional materials to decide whether I should keep using what I have, add theirs to my list, or write more of my own. Then there’s prepping to teach an existing course for the first time, which is rewarding but exhausting. And then there’s creating a whole set of courses for a new major (which I did for the New Media Journalism program when I first came to Seton Hill, and which I’ve volunteered to do for another potential major over the summer). That’s even more rewarding, but also exhausting.

If you see me with headphones, I am probably listening to a text-to-speech MP3 of an academic paper, or a radio theater recording of the full text of a Shakespeare play. Sometimes I sketch or do 3D modeling on my computer while listening to a text, because I find my brain can process those two very different activities pretty easily. If I’m currently in rehearsals for a play, I may be listening to a recording of me practicing my part, but otherwise my headphones are usually an extension of my work life.

image[T]he notion that professors are a bunch of layabouts is something I’ve encountered repeatedly over the course of a long career, and it’s as insulting as it is ignorant. So, instead of complaining, I thought I would explain just what it is a professor does all day.

First, there are the video games. Especially if you have a nice system, you can get in hours of…

Kidding. I’m a kidder.

Actually, the life of a professor is divided into several distinct but mutually dependent parts, including teaching, curriculum development, research, and service to the profession and community. None of this happens in an 8-to-4 day; like a lot of other professions, academics have intensely busy periods and then down time when things are less busy. —The War Room.

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