Category Archives: teaching

dipping my toes back in

I’m in the midst of applying for a job–well two different positions at the same school, actually. These are full-time, tenure-track positions at college that is a little bit of a commute, but either position may also have online coursework, which would be pretty ideal. These are some of the very first full-time positions that have surfaced in the last several years, since the budget cuts to higher education in California froze all hiring at nearby colleges. Job prospects have been pretty bleak in my field in recent years.

I have been far from enthusiastic about continuing to pursue the teaching profession for a few years now, and I am set on this whole new birth work career path. But I never have landed that full-time gig, so I really have no idea what it’s like not to be a freeway flyer, what it’s like to have regular health benefits and a salary, what it means to have respect in my position, or even a consistent office for that matter. I’ve gotten so very close on many occasions, but I can’t help but think this might be the time, that maybe I should give it one more chance.

It doesn’t hurt that this would mean an incredible amount of stability, that we could send BG to the preschool we want him to go to at J’s university. It would allow us to look toward buying a house where we want to live. And it would help me afford the training I really want to do for doula and childbirth ed. Of course, the bonus with teaching is that summers are off (if you don’t go all crazy and teach summer school), so J and I would both have summers off. We would have summers off with our son. See why this more than a little tempting?

So I’m giving it a go. I have to see if I might actually like teaching again when I have the benefit of a real position and stability.

It’s terrifying to do this, however,  for a number of reasons: I don’t want to spend my life amidst stacks of student papers and miss out on my family. I don’t want to have to put committee work and meetings and students above watching my son grow up. I don’t want to get stuck in work that  I don’t enjoy just because it comes with a steady paycheck. This last one I’m really afraid of.

So you see, it’s not an easy decision applying for this job, but I have to know whether I have the chops, whether I can make it in academia once and for all. If I can, and I like it, great. If I can’t, it just means I’ve got other things to pursue. It is a bit thrilling, though, thinking about standing in front of a bunch of students on the first day of class again. I can’t deny that the classroom is a good fit for me. And in these last nearly three years away from it, I’ve missed it.

 

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i think i’m ready

I don’t often write about my work here, mostly because there is little to tell. I work for an educational support company online, and it’s a job I have had for something like eight years. It’s fine work, but it’s part-time, and it pays poorly for California (the company is based in another state where these wages might be considered sufficient to some). While it keeps me working in my field when teaching is out of reach for one reason or another, it is mind numbing work–all the paper grading I hate to do when I’m teaching without the benefit of interacting with students or teaching my own classes. In my position, I also mentor and train other employees, so it’s not all grunt work, but it’s mostly that, and honestly, it is just not enough–monetarily, spiritually, intellectually.

The beauty of this work, however, is that I have been able to be home since, well, since I got pregnant  (I turned in grades for the last classes I taught just days before our successful insemination). I was able to stay home and work during my whole pregnancy, during my son’s whole first year, and now into his second. But working at home is not necessarily an easy thing to do with a more aware baby or a toddler. My son is very aware of my laptop, and any time he wants my attention and sees it in front of me, he will disconnect the power cord. He’s been doing this for months. Now he knows it can be closed, so he attempts to close it. He hates the black box. I feel endlessly guilty about this. The other issue is that I can’t actually work when I’m his sole caregiver. I always had this image of working from the office/nursery while he played, or working while he napped (ha! that would be nice if I only needed to do two thirty-minute shifts a day), but it just doesn’t work like that. He needs my attention when he sees that I’m there, and I’m inclined to give it to him. Most days, I save the bulk of my hours for night after he’s gone to bed, which cuts into my time with J. It’s just not as workable as it always seemed it would be, and I honestly don’t know how most work-at-home-moms do it without neglecting their kids in one way or another.

All of this is to say, I think I need to get back to the classroom. I’m not saying the pay is much better, but in all likelihood, J and I will be able to work our schedules around one another so that we’re not necessarily teaching at the same time–and if we are, well, the university where she teaches has a fairly affordable, super high quality “children’s school” where we could take our boy for a few hours a week. A few months ago, just thinking about daycare threw me into panic attacks, but I can seriously talk about it now because I think I am ready to find some of my self again outside of the home, and dare I say it–away from my family. The beauty of teaching at the college level is that one doesn’t necessarily have to work every day of the week. I might teach just Tuesday and Thursday and be home the rest of the week with the boy (ideally). On top of that, there are the great holidays, summer break–good things because J and I get the same time off. It could be good for awhile.

So I contacted the college where I last taught, and I will be applying to the university where J teaches too. I’m ready to go back to academia, even with my swiss cheese mommy brain. Of course, my readiness doesn’t mean that these schools will suddenly have the funding to give me classes, but I’m putting the intention out there, and with any luck, I’ll finally be grading my own students’ papers sometime in the coming year.

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a reluctant juggler

I’m getting a good taste this week of some serious multi-tasking. There is a class that I have been offered for next January, one that I will get to teach online for the community college with which I am currently affiliated. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and it’s an exciting endeavor. It may mean that I’ll have the teensiest bit of job stability at this college (in that I might get one of these online classes each semester), and it will mean that I can teach from home on my own schedule when Egghead is here. It’s a good deal.

What isn’t such a great deal is that I have put off planning this thing until now. My due date to submit the course for approval is August 31st, and I am in panic mode. So what do I do to get the ball rolling? I sit down to blog. Yes, that’s me: the ultimate procrastinator. Honestly, I’ve planned this very class for in-person classes dozens of times. I’ve taught many sections of this class, and I have used online components, so I really just have to make that final leap, but I can’t get my head there. I don’t want to be an academic right now. I want to be the flighty, forgetful, full-of-excitement mom-to-be that I am, and this task keeps pulling me away from all that. Egghead’s giant knee poking out of the upper portion of my belly doesn’t help me stay focused. It just doesn’t. I guess I’m learning the earliest and most gentle of lessons about what life is going to be like as an academic mom.

Can I tell you a secret? I don’t really like it.

I’m far more interested in Egghead’s newest diaper covers than I am in helping young college students find their academic voices. I would far rather read about breastfeeding and swaddling than the latest best practices on teaching grammar. Is this how I’m going to be from now on? Am I really losing sight of my career already? I don’t know–I think I’m just caught up in the excitement of being a new parent, and I’m honestly burnt out on teaching the same thing year after year. But that is nothing new. I’ve been burnt out on this for awhile.

So today I’m juggling. I’m still working at another online educational support job, and that has picked up this month to six hours a day. On top of that, I’ve got to get this class finished (and familiarize myself enough with the technology I’m to use in order to make it work), and on top of that, we’ve got birth class to attend, a hospital to tour, a car to get in working order, and my wife’s birthday this week–and my sister is coming for a quick visit this weekend. Need I even say that I’m a smidge overwhelmed? Is it really a surprise that all I want to do is float around in the pool and then sit in the shade with a good novel or go for a picnic with my lovely wife?

Alas, it’s back to the juggling I go.

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Filed under blogtherapy, Egghead, teaching

buried

J and I have been in a grading frenzy, and I don’t yet see an end in sight. I am so tired of bad student writing.

So I’m 4dpo today. The TWW is eeking by, and I’m ready to be on the other side of it, whatever the outcome. I forgot much time slows down during these weeks. I’m hoping that by the time I bring my head up from grading, it will be time to test.

Speaking of testing, we may test on election day. We’re hoping for a trifecta of good news. If it’s a trifecta of bad news, I’m crawling into a cave and not coming out.

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Filed under teaching, TWW, Uncategorized