Sunday, April 10, 2011

A New Job & Unchartered Territory

The good news is that I will have employment with New England School in the fall! The bad news is that it's only part-time. My official title will be Visiting Lecturer of English, and I'll teach 3 courses per semester with opportunities for summer teaching. I have no idea what courses I'll teach, but I'm prepared for the worst: 3 comp classes (probably at 8:00 a.m.). Let me first say that I'm enormously thankful that I have this job. It's always a nice thing to be employed. It especially helps when one is also trying to get a mortgage loan. This position, however, is unchartered territory for me. I have lots of questions about how I will/won't fit in...Will tenure-track faculty sneer and point at me in the halls? Or, will they simply ignore my existence? Will there be back-stabbing battles to get the best time slots? Will I have to sell my soul to teach a literature course? Most importantly, will I have any opportunity to demonstrate my value as a teacher and scholar to the department? I know that in order to convince them to offer me a full-time or tenure-track position, I'll need to be great in the classroom, try to maintain a research agenda, and be as active as possible within the department community. But, what if that's not enough? I have lots of anxiety about this new position and my overall "fit" in the department, and I have nothing to go on in terms of how to address some of the questions and fears I have. I'm scheduled to meet with the Dean of Humanities when I visit next week, and I'm hoping that she might put some of my worries at ease, while also answering some of the many questions I have about schools, daycares, etc. In the meantime, I have a list of properties to view (including a couple of rentals), an article to revise, and final projects to grade. Too bad that's not enough to keep me from worrying about the future.

7 comments:

feMOMhist said...

well of course these are all good problems to have, but it is very difficult to be the "trailing spouse." At sciDAD's uni they generally find a way to hire said spouse, but sometimes not until after a decade of adjuncting. Now if this overlaps with pregnancy and childrearing, it might work for the familial dynamic, but I look at these couples, almost always in the same field who met in grad school, and one is near full prof and the other a lowly assistant. I always wonder how that plays out. Thankfully its about 50/50 split male/female in my limited world, which does make my feminist self happy.

Good luck on the househunt and I hope the Dean is helpful

AcadeMama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AcadeMama said...

The things is, if I'm being truly honest with myself, I don't think I can teach only writing for ten years. I know me. I have to have litererature, at least 1 or 2 lit classes to balance out the writing. It doesn't have to be my field (Rest/18th c), it doesn't even have to be British, but I have to have literature. I intentionally pursued the PhD after finding out that all one could do with an MA was teach writing. Frankly, I'm burned out on teaching writing, and I'm desperately hoping that New England School will utilize my credentials, my training, and my areas of expertise in their course offerings. I'll give it as long as I can, but there's a very good chance I'll go on the market again this year to see if anything promising comes up. As much as I'd hate to do that to my children, I also believe strongly in setting the example of accomplishing one's goals.

intlxpatr said...

You are going to be fine. Pray with your husband, give God every detail. Yes, there are many. He will give you strength and wisdom and courage. He will help you through the isolation of being new and give you insights into the politics. Your husband is employed. You are employed. Your children are healthy. You will be back in the USA. You have some fabulous experiences to compile into a book. You have resources. You are going to be fine, AcadeMama.

Lisa Dunick said...

Congrats on getting something. When my hubby got his job, the English department wouldn't offer me anything more than an adjunct position teaching (you guessed it) writing at $2500 a class. I said no thanks and then went through a year of going back and forth about whether that was a bad move. But ultimately, I knew I wouldn't be happy as an adjunct and I knew I wouldn't be happy teaching writing indefinitely, so I said goodbye to academe. It's been really, really, hard, but I think that it was the right move for me. Don't worry- you have that in to the department. You can always use it as a steppingstone to get out to somewhere else.

AcadeMama said...

Lisa: Because of the area, at least the pay is decent ($3,500/class). I've noticed on their schedule of classes that some of the lecturers get to teach literature courses. Not all of them have PhDs, so my qualifications would help me in terms of asking for better courses. I plan on going on the market again this year in the hopes that it will give me some leverage for negotiating a full-time position, but as long as I get *some* literature courses to teach, I think I'll be pretty happy for a while.

Lisa Dunick said...

That's great :O) Couldn't be happier for you!