What would my ideal work conditions be?
*I would teach the students I want to teach. They would have to apply to work with me. There would be many applying to work with me and I would teach the best ones. I can fire a student whenever I want. A student can fire me too with no repercussions.
*We would meet in small groups whenever they wanted to. We could have several on-going working groups devoted to particular topics. There would maybe be four groups at a time, with no more than 10 students in each. Each would meet whenever there was a scheduled meeting, of no fixed length. I would have 10 hours of teaching a week, during which these meetings could take place.
*All the work would be for publication. Each student would work on his or her publications, or we could all collaborate on group publications / articles. A student or group of students might want to learn something that would not lead to an immediate publication. That would be fine too. Undergrads and grads alike would do meaningful research leading to publication.
*Lectures would be presentations, in the style conference papers. I could do some and the students could do some. They would be infrequent.
*No grades. No degrees.
So you can see that those are not my current conditions. I am not complaining about my current conditions, either. In many ways they are quite wonderful. What I want to do is to imagine what I think my ideal would be. Now that I've done that, I need to think of ways of moving my current conditions 1/4 of the way there.
My first thought is that independent studies don't work very well, even though they tend to be more "ideal" in the way I've conceived of things. Directing dissertations is not ideal either. I'm going to have to think of this a bit more.