Somehow, knowing that I will be doing something different in the future has been a relief. It’s not that I don’t enjoy teaching or research, it’s that I hate having to do it while having nothing but uncertainty about my future. I would so often teach an amazing class (or just a pretty good one) and then think, “But maybe it’s all for nothing.” I would bust my ass to get an article or a conference proposal out, while wondering why I was really doing all of this. When I’ve spent so long under the oppressive weight of self-loathing and insecurity (brought to you by the academic market), rejecting it feels good.
I finally told my advisor that I was done with it all and would not be looking anymore. He seemed somewhat disappointed about the course of events, but was quite supportive and understanding. Even in my post-academic life, I hope that we won’t lose touch. As bad as things have been, there have been a few bright spots.
This may be somewhat subversive, but I have decided that I will not be giving end-of-course evaluations. I have thought about it, and it doesn’t seem to be to anyone’s benefit. I don’t intend to teach ever again, so why does it matter? Normally one uses them to improve future teaching, but…yeah. Not so much. My institution didn’t see fit to keep me on, so how does knowing what did in my last semester here provide them with any useful information? Of what consequence is it for them to know how some lowly visitor taught a few intro-level classes when she isn’t even coming back to suck/excel in the classroom? I’m going to spend what remaining time I have here doing what I think it best, and to hell with pandering. I have spent nearly four years compromising out of fear that I would get bad evals and never get a job. Fat lot of good that did me.
We’re headed to Albuquerque on Friday for a few days of R&R with friends out there. I intend to do absolutely no work while I am out there, although I will be working on my Foreign Service essays in time for the March 20 deadline. It is so nice to feel like I have some agency after feeling powerless for so long. While the process is certainly competitive and intense, it feels far less arbitrary than the academic job search. I am tired of not being reinforced for my hard work and abilities, and I am ready to move on.