At my home institution, I teach between 5 -7 courses per academic term, and at least one of the courses is a new course. I have between 4- 6 different courses to prepare each term, with a total of 100- 150 students. My courses range from introduction to Film studies to film production to acting. Often, I am teaching back to back courses, jumping from intro to theatre to film history within 15 minutes. This means a lot of preparation, and grading. In media studies, the new is always old, and yet, one must ensure the students learn basics. I am in the classroom roughly 17- 20 hours a week. Preparation ( and this includes grading, preparing tests, homework assignments, reading, and so on) for this takes more than another 30 – 40 hours. And then you have to include committee work, advising, or extra curricular activities such as plays and film productions.
There is not much time, except for the summer, to do research, take trips, write papers, or just read.
Here, I am luxuriating in teaching just three courses, which meet a total of 4.5 hours a week. Yes, and 2 hours of office hours. At home, office hours are 10 hours minimum per week. I have time to prepare classes, to think, to plan. I have a reasonable stack of papers to grade this weekend.
I am teaching in depth subjects I can only glance at my home institutions. Right now, am preparing two talks on subjects I never have a chance to discuss at home. These will be given to audiences at the University on the east side, and to general audience at International Education week. I am rediscovering research! I am rediscovering ideas I have put aside in favor of teaching the basics of film and theater. I am readjusting to having time to do my own research and creative work.
I am also rediscovering why I went into teaching: to think, research, share, write and to think. Yes, to think twice.