We have just had our ‘reading week’ here at MMU which means that all the History students had an informal half-term break in which they don’t have to prepare for class and instead can devote themselves to their assessed essays amongst other things. But what should lecturers be doing during this time?
Part of that answer is that they should be recharging their batteries. We have 12-week terms and this can be grueling if you don’t take advantage of the mid-term break to rejuvenate. Maintaining a work-life balance is very difficult during term time especially if, like me, you have a long commute to work. So, it’s natural to allow yourself a little breather during the reading week break.
However, this is not an official holiday of course, and I for one would feel rather guilty for lounging on a beach somewhere! So, it might be a great time to get a little research in. I went to the Bodleian Library and did a couple of days’ study there. I also used the time to start planning my publication output for the next year or two.
It’s a real challenge to get down to research when you don’t have a long period of time to dedicate to it. Most scholars work best on their research by throwing themselves into it for a number of days, even weeks, at a time and not by stealing the odd hour here and there. So, reading week is an ideal time to get a little mid-term research done before throwing yourself into the second half of term. And it’ll be Christmas before you know it!