Multi-Tasking Skills – A Myth

Many of today’s educational institutions want their teaching faculty to be really an alchemist (mentor), an administrator, a researcher and also a teacher.

As teacher:

If you look into the real teacher’s role, in higher education institutions, it would be more of facilitator’s role. To be a facilitator, you need to gear up with full-fledged preparation; preparation to facilitate the classroom discussion in the right direction. For facilitating one session of 60 minutes or 75 minutes, a teaching faculty needs to prepare for at least 200+ minutes, this is a rough estimate, and this may vary from course to course and faculty to faculty. Suppose, a faculty handles two courses in a term, which consist of 30 sessions each, now imagine the amount of preparation required!

As researcher:

As a teaching faculty in higher educational institutes, you need to do lot of research for writing articles and cases in referred journals and magazines. For publishing your article or case, you need to work for months together, investing quality time every day. This is in addition to your core teaching load.

As administrator:

As an administrator, you may be involved in student admissions, alumni networking, international tie-ups, pre-placement preparation, placement & corporate relations, mandatory data submission to government, participating in surveys of educational institutes conducted by prominent magazines and journals, and other administration related work, whichever may come up during the course of time. This is in addition to your core teaching load

As mentor (alchemist):

As a mentor, you need to monitor the wards that are being allocated to you. Mentoring should be based on the interest of ward and mentor, rather today many institutes will arbitrarily allocate wards to mentors, which may or may not help the neither the student nor the mentor. So almost, this mentoring system has become more of ritual/mundane than personal & for shaping the mentees career.

Now a teacher in the higher educational institutes should be multi-task performer, who has to possess the skill set of a Teacher+Researcher+ Administrator+Mentor; Apart from this you should also devote quality time to your own family, who expects you to be a part of their joy/sorrow.

How many of the individuals could be quiet successful, in all the above said skill set. We talk about work-life balance, but when you work, there is no life, when you want to enjoy life, you may have to sacrifice on your work. There are experts who talk about and write about work-life balance, but practicing would be great difficulty, which they also know. Just look at your nears and dears, who are very successful in their career might have missed their personal life and vice-versa; exceptions apart.

So I feel, multi-tasking skill set seems to be a myth, rather than working in reality. Today’s teaching profession is not just mundane, but at par with the corporate executives who fight for their target, everyday.

Prof. M. Subramanian,

TSM, Madurai.