Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I continue to be alive

Well I was very sad back during the break when I went and looked at my enrollment --- it was low and several of my full-time colleagues had packed classes with wait lists. Word is getting around about me, I thought. And from talking to colleagues, at least two of them have a different idea of how to grade passing (As vs Cs) than I do, so that might explain the wait lists. But then when I got back here I saw lots of "help wanted" signs at fast food places and bed bath and beyond and other retail stuff, and then got some emails about enrollment being low and we should try to squeeze in as many students as possible to hit our targets. I went back through the department numbers and there are still quite a few classes with lower enrollment than mine, which, it may sound silly but, it made me feel a little better. And the person on my tenure committee who I find a little bit too reserved and a bit confusing has had a couple classes closed for low enrollment. Haha! I think to myself, you can make those complaints about me but students seem to react that way to you too! You just managed to squeak through to tenure. But then I think, eh, that must mean there really is some sort of basis to the complaints and there is something wrong with my teaching. Sigh.

Anyway, I didn't get any last minute changes, which is good, and the colleague had to take over a couple classes away from an adjunct, which is bad, and plus those students might be really screwed over by their class getting cancelled if their schedule is super packed. I don't even get good schadenfreude.

As long as I am whining I am going to complain about Socal colleague who got hired with me, who doesn't seem to have any problems with her student evals and who I guess hasn't had any problems whatsoever with her tenure process, despite doing a fair number of things in class that I think are pretty inappropriate. Although the getting mad at her students and yelling at them is totally understandable. No, they want to keep that person, who hates this place and hasn't made any attempt to like it or not talk shit about it and who just went in and asked for a letter of recommendation and is doing a full-bore job search back closer to her home ---- which totally shoeked our boss ---- and they got rid of me, who has been really trying hard to bloom where I've been planted. Sigh. Maybe Socal colleague is a better teacher. Grumble grumble grumble it's not fair.

This weekend I need to crank through all those job applications. And touch something lucky. Jeezus, what if I don't land anything and I have to tell everybody? I hate being so anxious; I don't think I can handle this long a timeline for anxiety.


Belle said...

So sorry for your angst. All kinds of useless advice I could offer, but since I know the value of that, I won't! Just know that your standards will fit somewhere, your talents appreciated. I share your impatience with long time-lines. Dealing with one of those myself. We just put our heads down, do our best, take small pleasures where we can - and here's the tough part - not let the bad bits dominate our thinking.

Easier said than done, no?

Bardiac said...

Belle's right.

Thinking good thoughts for you that a great job in a much better place will be a good fit for your skills and talents, and that they'll figure it out.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with you. I do think that many, many PhDs have a hard time teaching at community colleges because they have higher expectations of themselves and their students than the CC environment allows. It's not that I don't believe in CCs. I think they are valuable and do many good things. GEW teaches at a CC and does great work there. It seems like her CC has plenty of great opportunities for literature folks. (Plus, she makes a lot more money than me!) But I also know from years of reading your blog that taking a CC job seemed like settling for you -- not like a dream job. To my knowledge, no one does a PhD so they can someday fulfill their dream of working at a CC. Most of us want to be at a research institution of some sort or maybe a nice SLAC. (Of course, I'm sure there are many people who could prove me wrong, but I'd bet that at least a 51% majority of literature PhDs didn't dream of CC jobs while writing their diss.)

All of that is to say -- it's probably just not a good fit. That doesn't mean you're a bad teacher or a bad person or an elitist or anything else. It just means that sometimes you can hammer a square peg into a round hole and sometimes you can't without doing damage.

It's all fine and good for me to be saying this from my stupid place of privilege though (tt job, supporting spouse, etc.). I do know that we at HU will be putting out an ad this fall for digital humanities types. If you have any of those sorts of skills, you should apply. Clearly I'm not in the kind of place people dream of either, but it's not as bad as some places and getting better in some ways. (The town has actually gotten lots better in the last 10 years or so.) I really think networking with folks from your blogging would help you. We know you'd be a good colleague at least and have high standards. It couldn't hurt to try.