Monday, October 15, 2007

Grading and beyond

For everything...
there is a season...

And just now in my life is the season for grading. I had a nice hiatus for the past few days. Today, I returned to the task. Graded all the reports that were handed in October 4 (and a few late ones), and I'm halfway through grading the quizzes they all took last Tuesday. I'll have both sets to hand back to them tomorrow afternoon.

I still have the Interview/Essays and tests from my Wednesday night class to grade. I'll do my best to get those done by Wednesday night. This is the drudgery of teaching. Sure, every job has more or less pleasant aspects. That can't be denied. An element of unpleasantness does not in itself constitute cause for leaving.

Rocket and I are both dealing with sorting out our expectations and desires, and meshing those with our obligations and responsibilities. She has decided (I think it's final this time) that she will take an indefinite leave from her current career, from the time the baby is born.

And so, it is on us to decide where we will go. The time frame is next summer, after the Painter is done with kindergarten (mid-June). Rocket will likely take leave around the end of January. (Due date is about February 4). As we expect it, this will provide her some sort of income (disability/family leave) until about May.

We've decided not to limit ourselves to a locale where she could feasibly slide back into her career. (If she decides to down the road, we'll deal with it then). I'm clearly not interested in metaphorically holding my breath by limiting our choices to where I might have an offer of a full-time faculty gig. (If one comes up, we'll consider it. I must say, it is incredibly freeing to not consider an offer to be manna from heaven. It's just something to consider.)

The only real limitations are being within an hour of a major airport, so I can conveniently travel as needed for building my business, and it has to be in a location that would be attractive to the sorts of people I might like to hire for my firm. We'd also like to be near family and close to some large body of water for sailing. It should be some place reasonably affordable, so we can work our way back into home ownership when the time is ripe. That leaves a lot of possibilities.

Left to me are still the decisions regarding whether and where I might continue to apply for faculty positions. I've realized that I wish to impose some fairly strict criteria on what would make an acceptable post. I think no more than 5 courses per year, ideally 4. Also, course size should be limited to under 60 students per term (ideally 50 or under). I'd want to live close to campus, so the commute is negligible. I'd want encouragement and support for my research (my real research).

When dating, my attitude was always to wear my heart upon my sleeve, to display myself as I really am. I never understood friends who would go to great lengths to appear as something other than themselves, in order to impress someone. I wanted to find someone who loved me for who I am, blemishes and all. I want the same from a job. Why go to great lengths to wear the costume of someone else, someone I think would most appeal to a hiring committee? Not for me. This is who I am. This is what I do.

But I'm ready. I'm ready to move on as well. I have only three applications out so far this year. I've got some more in my inbox awaiting my decision. Rocket and I will look those over. I'll see what I can about whether they fulfill my wishes, and then we'll decide if they're possibly in a location that works for us. And if not, I won't apply. I don't need to.

I believe in my work. That is what I'm off to do.

No comments: