Phew, another paycheck . . . just in time! Last week I had to scramble to transfer money from one account to another in time to cover some of our bills* (and DRAT, I incurred one late fee, which never happens and just about gave me an ulcer!), so it feels good to have finally arrived at a point where I will get regular paychecks again. The last time I had a regular paycheck was April 2011 — yikes! (And Neal, well, that goes back to probably summer 2005.)
The semester only started on Monday and I am quickly learning that online classes are heavily front-loaded for the instructor. You get lots of student emails trying to figure out how to even get started; you’re trying to help with their technology issues; you’re trying to figure out your technology issues (in fact, during my first synchronous meeting, one of my tech-savvy students was sending me excerpts from a manual to explain how to perform certain actions — ha!); and there’s a surprising number of assignments the first week, probably in large part because that is one of the primary ways to start making connections and getting students engaged. So far, I’ve put in 15 hours of work this week and I haven’t even started grading the papers they submitted! (The university suggests instructors put in 10-12 hours per week, so hopefully this week is an exception.)
Still, I’ve really enjoyed meeting my students. They’re living all over the United States. They’re Germans, Haitians, Bolivians, Sri Lankans, Native Americans, Californians, Washingtonians, Idahoans, Hawaiians, Floridians, and Texans. They’re 18-year-old freshmen and 50-something-year-old moms. And I love the fact that I can hear about all these diverse life experiences right from my own bedroom!
* We keep the bulk of our savings in an intentionally inaccessible online savings account with ING Direct.** This usually works really well to help us keep our spending low because we see only a small checking balance, but every once in a while I lose track of the balance and don’t transfer money in time. And then I punish myself by taking the late fee out of my dining out budget (after begging the company for mercy, of course).
** I’ve been using ING Direct since the early 2000s and have liked them (no, they’re not paying me to say that because it would be pretty dumb to pay people to say things to like 6 readers at a time). All online savings interest rates are in the tank right now, but they still have one of the smoother user interfaces I’ve tried, great customer service, unique account features as well as occasional savings promotions. Let me know if you want a referral to get a $25 bonus for setting up a new online bank account.