« A symposium on Levy's "Rationalism, Pluralism, and Religious Freedom" | Main | What's a Hospitalist? »

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Another Cold/flu - Is there something about teaching v. practice?

I have heard it said that teachers, particularly those who teach small children, are more likely to be exposed to viruses and to get sick. Until recently, I did not count myself among the “more likely to catch a virus” group. I felt completely fine when classes started on Monday, and I was excited about the next set of classes, but by Wednesday it was clear that I managed to pick up a rather nasty flu of some kind. Again.

I am starting to think that there is something about working as a law professor that requires me to more actively guard against getting sick. I enjoy teaching and writing about the law, and I like interacting with students. However, it seems I have caught my fair share of minor illnesses since I started teaching full time. Before teaching, I practiced law, went back to school, did some international work, practiced some more and moved around a fair amount. Even with all that, getting sick was not part of my vocabulary. I have been thinking about what has changed.

I interact with far more people now than I did in practice. Even though it is often said that academia is isolating, when I was in practice, I spent quite a bit of time working independently on legal memos. Aside from lunch or client meetings, I dedicated my time to legal research and analysis for client files. As a law professor, I still work alone a lot, but I also encounter many more people.  Perhaps the less formal atmosphere of the academic setting also makes a difference. I suspect people will go to school when they have cold and flu symptoms whereas they might not go to a business meeting sniffling, coughing, or sneezing.  I have also contemplated the effects of an irregular schedule (night teaching), publish or perish, the wonderful flexibility (easy to work all the time if you are not inclined to perish), conference travel, and other factors, including too much sugary coffee! Whatever the reason for the increase in minor illnesses, I have decided it is time to actively avoid catching another one.

Posted by Jan OseiTutu on January 17, 2016 at 02:38 PM | Permalink


The comments to this entry are closed.