I am a second-year math Ph.D. student without a master's degree who likes taking math classes and loves TAing and tutoring, but dislikes research. During the first semester of my second year, I spent about 3-4 hours a week on research while taking three classes and got very little done research-wise.
I usually have about 8 hours of office hours a week for TA (some of which are for review or practice sessions) and I also type LaTeX notes for students which I improve each semester.
I want to be a lecturer or community college math instructor (I am aware that their pay/ job security is not ideal, but I would rather have a job that I enjoy than being a professor, because I definitely do not want to continue research after I graduate with my Ph.D.) It seems like for those positions completing a Ph.D. is needed to be a competitive job candidate, but the quality of the research doesn't really matter. Being more likely to get a job is the only reason I am doing my Ph.D.
I have gotten 6 A's and 3 A+'s in the 9 classes I have taken for my Ph.D. so far, because I spend enough on them and also tutor other graduate students in some of the classes I am taking with makes me spend even more time. I like how for classes I learn everything by going to lectures instead of having to read references, have a large number of small homework problems instead of a small number of difficult research problems, and taking tests instead of working on long-term projects.
During my second year the main reason I don't do much research-wise is that I spend too much time TAing and tutoring, but starting in my third year it will be more so motivation than time, because I won't be taking classes. I was supposed to read a lot over winter break and also complete a proof and didn't have any other responsibilities. I read what I was supposed to and typed about 40 pages of LaTeX notes, but I skipped all of the proofs in the book and I found that after I finished reading I did not remember most of the notes I had typed, because I typed them quickly and didn't read the text deeply. I also didn't do the proof. I had a lot of time during break, but I chose not to do a good job because I wasn't motivated.
How can I determine whether I am doing enough each week to complete my Ph.D. and not be kicked out for not doing enough research? I usually don't finish the weekly assignments I get, but my advisor hasn't mentioned that I am not doing enough. I know that one way to find out is to ask my advisor, but I don't want them to know that I just want to complete the Ph.D. And I don't want to spend time on research, because then they might decide that they don't want to work with me anymore and I wouldn't be able to finish my Ph.D.
I think that I probably wouldn't spend more than 12 hours weekly during my last three years on research, but I would spend at least 8 hours weekly even if less than that was enough. I know that this would leave me with a significant amount of free time which I would probably spend tutoring undergraduate and graduate students, because I am motivated to do that and it would help improve my teaching skills.
- Is 12 hours spent weekly on research for the final 3 years enough to complete a minimal Ph.D. for a slightly above average Ph.D. student?
- Is there a way that I can continually check whether I am on track to complete my Ph.D. and not be kicked out for making unsatisfactory progress?