Frank Bruni’s column in yesterday’s New York Times reminded me of one of the unfortunate aspects of academia. Bruni wrote admiringly of the productivity of Joyce Carol Oates, who manages to publish prolifically despite teaching a full “load” at Princeton.
It’s no secret that many professors prefer working on their scholarship than teaching their students. Still, it’s disheartening that academics and others describe the teaching responsibility of a professor as a “load.” It reminds me of my days as a resident in internal medicine, when we referred to patients newly admitted to our care from the emergency department as “hits” (as in, “I just took another hit”).
Perhaps, professors would feel better about their teaching responsibilities if we started describing them as “opportunities?”