Shari Wilson writes
an interesting column on the challenges of being a post-secondary professor -- and compares it with her experiences in industry.
This reminds me very much of Horace's Compromise, the classic book by Ted Sizer about a high school teacher's struggle to deal with all the demands of his time and energy in order to be a decent teacher. Both Sizer and Wilson point out that grading alone is a huge time-sink. Do the math for a high school teacher: five classes, 30 kids per class, and a measly one minute per assignment = two and a half hours of grading, potentially every night. Add in-class time, office hours, and lecture prep time, and we're well over eight hours a day.
For university faculty, add on top of that the things that might get you tenure one day: fundraising, grant-proposal writing, advising grad students, committee meetings, attending conferences, reading the literature for your field... it isn't a job, it's an all-consuming lifestyle.
Is there a better way? Or is this the way it should be?