at R1 universities the teaching load for research-active faculty in the physical sciences is 1 course per semester, and in my understanding this is fairly typical.
However, this fall I have a bunch of new graduate students coming in and have received two new grants so we should really get cracking on those projects. My graduate students need to take a whole bunch of courses in order to be productive, and two course of mine, which I teach occasionally, are critical for their research. I haven't taught these courses in a lecture format in a few years (did offer them as independent study), so when I do offer the first one in the series, I'm likely to have upward of 30 people.
So I am contemplating whether to bite the bullet and offer the first graduate course in the two-course series this semester (fall). It would be a teaching overload for me, as I still have to teach my undergrad course. A downside of offering this additional course is that teaching would dominate my semester, especially when combined with advising and committees and other service, so my research would likely take a hit. Also, very importantly, I would be overcommitted and grumpy, so this schedule might then take a toll on my mood and consequently on my family life. However, I have received two new grants this year, so I could afford to sit it out this fall and not submit any new proposals (or maybe just a "little" one, to the NSF in October). I will have submitted all the pending papers by the end of this summer, so the time available in the fall should be sufficient for dealing with the new manuscripts. On the upside, offering the course would enable the whole batch of new students to get up to speed sooner rather than later, which is important for getting a good momentum on new projects and early on, especially on the big grant where I was funded by an agency I am new to and where I really want to make a good impression...
This overload would not really help me in any way regarding my standing with the department (except perhaps that some people would think I am a fool for teaching more than I absolutely have to). The sole reason for me to do it would be to benefit my research students (and whoever else takes it in the fall)
I could also just wait till the next semester, so all this drama would be avoided. But then everything gets pushed back by a few months. Not too long a time, but then again, when your grants last 3 years, you want to be able to produce sooner rather than later (I have also been trying to recruit a postdoc, but pickings have been slim. Only one viable candidate so far...)
So what say you, blogosphere?