I won’t be posting here anymore.
My follow-up interview today went really well. It was a one-on-one meeting with the head of HR, and it felt more like a conversation than an interview. I should know either way probably next week. It’s miraculous to think that one can apply and find out within the same year…
This weekend we have a number of social engagements, which is absolutely what I need. We are really meeting some cool people here. I don’t want to speak prematurely, but it seems like moving to Albuquerque was the best decision we made. Time will tell if I still feel this way in the future.
As soon as I rail against all the injustices of the Universe, of course I find out that I passed the Foreign Service exam. Not only that, I aced the hell out of it! A passing score was 154, and I exceeded that by 16 points, putting me in the 97th percentile of all test takers!
Now on to writing my personal narratives and making something good happen in my life. After so much heartache, it is nice to have good news.
For posterity’s sake, or for the sake of other Foreign Service-wannabe types like me, here’s the breakdown:
- Job Knowledge: 58.47
- Biographic Information: 50.61
- English Expression: 61.46
Essay score: 10
This picture will be forever in my mind’s eye. I teach classes to people who will be teachers, and I like to think that I give them the knowledge and skills to handle nearly everything that could happen in the classroom. Today, I realized that there are some things that one can never prepare for. Nothing in my repertoire could possibly teach someone how to deal with such a tragedy. This isn’t supposed to happen to anyone anywhere, and it happened to innocent children at school.
I just can’t, you guys. It’s too much. Hold a little tighter to those you love.
because: a manifesto
Because the failures of a flawed system are not my personal failures.
Because I am tired of being made to feel like a failure because I have been failed by a flawed system.
Because doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is stupidity.
Because participating in a system that degrades, demeans, and disempowers you is masochism.
Because productivity for productivity’s sake is futility.
Because stupidity, masochism, and futility should not be rewarded.
Because obfuscation, elitism, arrogance, and self-righteousness should not be rewarded.
Because my talents, accomplishments, experiences, and hard work are not acknowledged or rewarded in this system.
Because I am not not nurtured, encouraged, or valued in this system.
Because those in a position to change the system do not.
Because I refuse to believe that a system that does not value me is the only one in which I can have worth.
Because I am enduring personal, financial, and professional hardship to no perceivable purpose.
Because I am being limited personally, financially, professionally, and creatively.
Because I already got what I came for–three advanced degrees and immersion in a subject I love.
Because I want to continue to love it.
Because life is short.
Because sometimes I consider how my light is spent.
Because I don’t want to live here.
Because I am prevented from doing the work I was trained and prepared to do.
Because there are other places where that training and preparation will be rewarded, respected, and used.
Because I am capable of more than I can do here.
Because leaving the system is a reclamation of the dignity and agency it has attempted to take from me…
I am leaving the academy.
I am a huge fan of the blog practically efficient, which should surprise no one who knows me. The other day, they had an amazing post that struck me as very well-timed, given my current (well, ongoing) situation.
When something bad happens, people usually offer a common consolation: “Things happen for a reason.” I don’t believe that.
I believe that you are the multiplicative product of all of your past experiences. You are your experiences and you are what you do with those experiences. I also believe the most difficult experiences in your past account for your best qualities today.
Things don’t happen for a reason. They happen for you.
Yesterday, I received notice that a paper I submitted for Huge National Conference was accepted. This is a good thing, because it means a) another line on the vita and b) I get to go to San Francisco for a few days in the spring. Huzzah!
I feel like I am mostly getting things done and keeping my workload manageable. At some point I need to start focusing in on my new class for the spring. I initially wanted to emulate some of my colleagues who specialize in the field, but I’m beginning to see that perhaps I should keep it simple so that I don’t get too overwhelmed. If things go well, I will be spending a few days here and there on interviews, and a highly complex class structure will just cause agony.
No firm nibbles on the job front, but one kinda sorta nibble (I think). It bothers me so much less now that I know I won’t be doing this again. We are eyeing DC, New York, Austin, Albuquerque for potential landing sites in our post-academic lives. For now, we will keep on trucking and hope that something good pans out for me.
I am struggling with an issue that I have put off acknowledging for a few months: My spring evals. They were, as I said earlier, terrible. Like, really bad. They are a strong outlier compared to every other semester I’ve ever had since I began teaching in the Fall of 2009.
The reasons, of course, are plenty. I was constantly sick, depressed, burned out, over-worked, and traveling way too much for interviews, seeing the spouse, and conferences. That said, I have no idea how I’m going to incorporate these evals into my teaching portfolio. Part of me says, “Well, suck it up. If they ask, you can explain a bit about why things were low, and then talk about how you worked to change things for future class.” The other part of me says, “Are you stupid? Anyone who sees those numbers will immediately round-file your application, and perhaps burn it for good measure.”
Do I include them? If so, should I provide some kind of accompanying statement? I’m really at a loss here. I’m afraid if I do just leave them out entirely that I’ll raise some kind of red flag.
Here’s what I decided:
- I will have an attendance policy, with a brief mention of the fact that people who don’t come to class and participate tend not to do well regardless of any attendance policy. They get 3 freebies, and then a 5-point deduction (out of 200 possible points for the class) for each subsequent absence. I will make no distinction between excused and unexcused, except in very dire cases. These cases will most likely involve deans anyways, so they’ll have my back on this.
- There will be a participation policy, but it will be based on some sort of written product (minute paper, questions related to an in-class film, or a written synopsis of an in-class group activity). However, I will incentivize being attentive and engaged (not necessarily talking, but showing a general sense of give-a-shit) by increasing one’s grade by a couple of points if it means the difference between a B+ and an A- (for example). That way, they aren’t penalized for lack of participation, but it means I’m not necessarily going to go above and beyond for those who don’t engage.
- I’m not going to ban technology, but if someone is obviously tweeting/Facebooking/texting, I’ll take Elaine’s approach of noting the disrespect inherent in such acts and leave it at that.
I think these are policies I can live with, because they are clear, reasonable, and enforceable. We’ll see how things go!