Dr. Mr. Palimpsest has the flu, so I'm taking over his two classes today. Luckily, both kids are reasonably healthy. Bunny is jumping around like, well, a bunny, and Pumpkin has a bit of a cold, but nothing too dire. I've mostly lost my voice, but otherwise I'm golden. At least I don't have the flu!
I've mentioned before that our department chair is a gift from the academic gods, and worth every ounce of her weight in gold. We are incredibly sorry that she's leaving at the end of this academic year.
Here's example of her awesomeness: One of my colleagues is adopting a little girl from China. According to Tiny U policy, she only gets 2 weeks off, plus her courses must be covered by her colleagues out of the goodness of their hearts. My colleague successfully argued with the department chair and now has A) 6 weeks off (not all of it paid, I believe); and B) $2,000 to be paid to each colleague who takes on one of her courses for those 6 weeks. Our department chair managed to eek the money out of our non-existent budget, because she believes so strongly in family-friendly workplaces. Yay, department chair!
Now to drop the other shoe: I'm taking on my colleague's intro course for 6 weeks. It's not in my field, but related (think, like, intro to world history)*. And, yes, I'm taking on another 70 students, in addition to the 70 in my intro to Cultural class, and the 60 in my intro to Bioanth class, and the 15 in my upper-level seminar. Ack! And I'm already having trouble getting anything done this semester.
On the other hand, it's $2,000 that can go toward childcare this summer. (We're currently looking at taking both kids out of childcare this summer, to save the money, unless I can get money through a grant to pay for childcare and let me spend some time working on a new project.) Also, it's my contribution to a more family-friendly workplace.
UPDATE: H1N1 is running rampant through our community. That may be the culprit in our most recent edition of the plague chronicles.
*Yes, there are faculty members in my colleague's field who would be better suited to take over this class. In fact, one of them teaches this intro course every Fall semester. She refused to take on her colleague's course, because it would be "too hard" to teach 70 more students, on top of her three (tiny) upper-division seminars. Also, she's complete dead wood who refuses to even develop a new course unless she gets a course release to make up for the lost time. Oh, and she hates my colleague for refusing to hide a previous colleague's alcoholism, which eventually led to his forced retirement for passing out in class and making students visit his house at night, while he was drunk. Aren't academic politics fun?