Monday, February 16, 2009

Full Speed Ahead

I officially have my first interview request, which came from the Middle East campus of my home university. The video interview is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Yeah, in less than 48 hours. I'm a tiny bit of a mess.

I've talked with my department head, who visited the campus last semester, and he had lots of great information about the existing administration, the faculty housing, the friendliness of the citizens and students, and the general appeal and safety of the area. He also informed me that I wasn't alone in my application. It turns out that there were several people from our department who applied, two of whom have more experience than I do and have been doing this much longer. After finding this out, I actually felt like I kinda had something to be a little proud of in simply getting an interview request. He, along with my placement director, offered very specific tips on how to handle the interview, which, lucky for me, really won't require any prep beyond thinking about things like:

- How will I teach writing to students who won't have American culture as a context for instruction, examples, etc.?
- How will I help motivate students who have already been assured of jobs upon their graduation?
- How will I handle living and teaching in a multicultural environment?

I have experience teaching developmental English/writing to at-risk students at the college level, which is absolutely something they'll need to hear! I also was part of a pilot program in an Introductory Composition Program at a school that has often been considered among the top rhetoric and composition programs in the country. Finally, that experience will come in very handy as well.

Regarding some of the issues that commenters posted last time--

Visitation Schedule with H's Biological Dad H:
Theoretically, if my ex-husband had ready money and a strong desire to fight me on this, he could. For a variety of reasons, he probably wouldn't get anywhere, mainly because he wouldn't be losing any time with H. The regular American holidays are honored in the private schools, in addition to the native holidays, and a relaxed calendar is in place during major Muslim holidays. For example, there's a one week vacation in September, a month in which she usually doesn't visit him for Labor Day because she's at his house in August right up until she starts school. Hubby and I also agreed that we would return for the summer and rent a place in Home State, allowing H to come and go to his house and my parents as often as she likes. In the end, he might actually see more of her, if *he* would take the time off from his job as the manager of a cattle ranch (a job that's 24/7, literally). Ultimately, I don't think he'll fight it. He won't like it, but he'll see the obvious economic sense it makes for our family and understand that it's only for 2 years. It works in my favor that his father worked overseas for very similar reasons, so it's not like this is a foreign concept to him.

Effect on Future Hiring:
This was actually one of the first questions I took to my advisor and my placement director/committee member. Both agreed that since it's a short-term position (2 years), I'd have the title of Visiting Assistant Professor, and the light teaching load would allow me a significant amount of time to work on research/publishing, it would look good on the CV. Both indicated that it certainly wouldn't look bad. My placement director, for example, said she'd be inclined to see it as something that makes me look more interesting as a job candidate. The only problem is one of logistics: conducting a job search from overseas when the time comes. Hubby has been advised that his department would offer him a verbal agreement to hire him for a one-year term if our later job search was unsuccessful; I'm planning to ask my advisor about how likely it is I could get a verbal agreement for the same thing.

Living Half a World Away:
This one's fairly easy. As long as I have my husband and children, and I can still talk to my mom whenever I want, then I'm fine. That's what Skype is for, right?

Research Trips:
The current package includes $13K per person per year for research and travel. This is in addition to the R/T airfare they provide for each person in the family to return home once a year. We shouldn't have a problem coming back for the long breaks and the summer given this allowance and the fact that we'd have living expenses provided.

Again, I'm hoping I don't have to make this decision. I'm hoping that Regional Campus of Home University - the one that's in this state nonetheless - calls me this week and wants an interview. But if they don't, this is an option we'd be foolish not to seriously consider. Hubby and I have already agreed that we wouldn't make any final decision until we flew over for a visit.

Let's just see how Wednesday morning goes...


supadiscomama said...

Be wary of "verbal agreements" as they're easily forgotten.

AcadeMama said...

Supa: Your tip is duly noted ;)

Jennie said...

Good luck, AcadeMama, this sounds like a wonderful opportunity!