Warning: Health Risk for College Professors

So, this week a couple of my professors were discussing chronic back pain. They said this was a common ailment faced by academics because of the constant sitting/writing/reading. One of them now has a desk that allows him to stand up all the time because sitting down hurts too much.

I was surprised to learn this, and honestly had not considered physical health risks associated with being an academic. Some of the risks associated with office work seem easily applicable for academics:

1.) Carpal Tunnel – Writing constant articles, books, book chapters, conference presentation reports, emails, etc.

2.) Lower Back Pain – Sitting while writing, reading, and grading.

3.) Bacteria on the Desk – Many professors probably clean their desk, um… never?

4.) Other Joint Problems – Sitting constantly.

5.) Eyestrain – Reading and grading tests, reading student essays/papers, entering grades into a spreadsheet, reading journal articles and books, writing journal articles and book. I actually experienced this my first term in grad school because I had to read between 400 to 600 pages a week for my classes, not including grading.

6.) Stressful Situations – Decreased college funding, students trying to negotiate for a higher grade, low professor salaries for the hours actually worked, trying to get tenure, and larger class sizes (lecturing to 400 or more students), etc.

In addition, many professors (and students working on their dissertations), can have stretches of work weeks where they spend more than 8 hours a day working. Long work days have been linked with heart disease because of the stress and poor diets.

I am training for a marathon, so that helps somewhat. And my next term I only have one class which will free up time to work on my masters paper. But my lunchtime meals could use improvement for health reasons. So, what health risks are associated with your job? Are you even aware of health risks associated with your job?

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Originally posted on Ideas:

Each school day, millions of students move in unison from classroom to classroom where they listen to 50- to 90-minute lectures. Despite there being anywhere from 20 to 300 humans in the room, there is little actual interaction. This model of education is so commonplace that we have accepted it as a given. For centuries, it has been the most economical way to “educate” a large number of students. Today, however, we know about the limitations of the class lecture, so why does it remain the most common format?

(MORE:Should Teachers Be Allowed to Share Their Lesson Plans?)

In 1996, in a journal called the National Teaching & Learning Forum, two professors from Indiana University — Joan Middendorf and Alan Kalish — described how research on human attention and retention speaks against the value of long lectures. They cited a 1976 study that detailed the ebbs and flows…

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Teaching Excellence 101: In 200 Words or Less

I finished two days of seminars about teaching. I learned a lot.

One of the things which made it interesting was the mix of people who attended. Me, a second year graduate student… sitting next to a professor who has won awards for teaching excellence. And both of us were there to become better teachers.

Being a great teacher is not easy. It takes practice, and depth of knowledge, and creativity. But I think most of all it involves wanting to be a great teacher. When I was sitting in the teaching seminar… it became evident that the key to teaching is never stop learning how to teach because I can always get better (even after I am winning teaching awards).

Me, sitting next to a professor who has won awards for teaching excellence… and this professor was at a seminar to become a better teacher. Currently I am not a great teacher. Without being arrogant I do believe I am a good teacher… but my desire is to become a great teacher. The desire is the key.

Anyway, now I have a bucket of new ideas to try in the classroom. What do you think makes a great teacher?

The Problem with America’s Failing Education System

I am on the way to becoming a college teacher so I don’t expect to encounter this very often. But I have many friends who teach elementary school. Their stories seem very much like this video created by Sleepyprincesszzz. If you are a teacher, I am sure you understand…

Are too many young people going to college?

A college education was once regarded as a first-class ticket to a better life.

But the rising costs of higher education, the burden of student loans and a less-certain job market have left many wondering: Are too many young people going to college?” — SOURCE: Wall Street Journal

College education is very important, but with the current tuition rates it appears to be a financial liability that outweighs the financial benefits. What do you think?