So it has been quite a struggle. Combining teaching and research.

I am not a long-term planner like my husband. And every week is different in education land so it has been impossible to establish a weekly rhythm. The deadlines for International Business and Management Studies (IBMS), where I teach, are numerous and frequent whereas for research I have to create my own and thus can easily get postponed.

Next to that is the speed. For IBMS I had to prepare and teach courses for 6 weeks, give feedback, grade the tests in the test period, teach another 6 weeks and grade some more. During this time I also conducted research on one of my courses (critical thinking skills & documentaries) and gathered lots of data (see Early days of a researcher).

It’s not always the exact amount of hours that is the problem but the intensity. I run from teaching to a research group meeting to a curriculum committee meeting and have no time to chew on the ideas generated in the research group because I dive into discussing the new BFM Network Curriculum without proper preparation.

To chew well means to digest well. We teach it to our children. Good chewing helps good digestion which determines how we are going to feel in the next 18-24 hours.

I finally have some time to chew this week. I am reading “Onderwijs in tijden van Digitalisering,” writing notes about it, discussing the ideas with colleagues, starting on my chapter for research. It makes me excited, this chewing on what has already been written. It creates non-smelly output. Body and brain are alive.

The combination of teaching and research is exciting. I like how it feeds each other, it’s the sauce on the pasta. But I need to sit down and chew, something that research needs and teaching as well. It changes and enhances my perspective and actions.

As we are preparing for the next year, full of insecurities and work pressure, let’s set time apart for chewing. When my kids eat pasta – with sauce – I tell them not to swallow the fusilli because they can choke. First they need to sit down at the table, take a little bite, chew at least 10 times (I know it has to be many more), swallow and take the next bite. Let’s not choke but chew.