Saturday, December 17, 2011

College Life?

I got asked at my last post-observation conference when I was making the move to college teaching. This got me thinking. Mom always said that she saw me eventually on an ivy covered campus teaching. I don't know about the ivy, but the idea of making the move to teaching college definitely appeals to me.
Here's my positive affirmation list:
  1. More and more colleges (not just community colleges) aren't requiring PhDs, but instead are accepting just Masters with online experience, or teaching experience.
  2. I have two Masters degrees, one in education and one in English literature, which HAS to count for something.
  3. I have ten years of teaching experience, plus one of online teaching.
  4. I've presented for two years at SAMLA and chaired a panel this past year.
  5. My first book review will be published next month in The Journal of Folklore Research: Reviews.
  6. I couldn't be any more involved at my school with committees and service.
  7. I'm a rockstar in an interview.
And because I'm a realist, here are the negatives...
  1. I don't have a PhD.
  2. I'm not published.
  3. I don't have post-secondary teaching experience.
  4. I don't have the support of a network.
What I do have is a growing list of questions:
  1. Is post-secondary teaching experience really necessary if I have other qualifications? Is there any wriggle room in these requirements? Or, would my other qualifications be accepted in lieu of this?
  2. Does my lack of publication hurt me?
  3. For someone in my position, do I care if the position is a lecturer, or a renewable contract assistant professorship without tenure?
  4. Where would I want to go? For what situation am I willing to uproot my life? In this economy?
  5. How the hell does this process work? I know we're smack in the middle of the hiring season (I hear) but how quickly do you hear if you made the first round of cuts? Does it make a difference if it's an online application that goes to HR or if it's directly addressed to the search committee chair? Is an interview the next step, or a campus visit? How quickly after that do you hear something?
I only have one friend in a PhD program, and she's not at the job hunting stage yet. I don't really have anyone else I could ask. I have a couple of college professors I probably could ask, but I don't want to be a bother, especially when I'll probably be bugging them later for recommendations. While I enjoyed my masters programs, neither provided much support with this type of thing. My pick up class at ECU was where I learned all of this professional interaction stuff, and I still feel lost.
This is WAY out of my comfort zone. And for now, just all musings on paper.

Mom's Traditions

Somehow, despite all of my preparations, Christmas has snuck up on me again. Don't get me wrong- the tree(s) are decorated, the outside lights are up (although a couple of lines have blown), the presents are all purchased and wrapped and under the tree. Yet somehow, I still feel as though Christmas is waiting to ambush me in a week.

Part of this is the pressure- there are lots of things that Mom did that I feel the need to make sure get done. Some of these things I had started to help her with as she got sicker and sicker. But I also worry about all the things she did that I may not remember, or may get wrong. I know it's ridiculous to try and fill her shoes, that I need to discover what Christmas means to me, what my traditions are. But I am my mother's child, and my traditions are mostly hers.

I haven't been overwhelmingly sad this season, I think because Mom saw so much magic in the season, so that is what I remember most. I seem to carry the magic of her with the season.

These are Mom's traditions I carried on this season:
  1. Used a dorky Christmas picture for the Christmas card. Although we did just put Nehi on it. We usually took pictures of all of us, and this year without Mom, it just didn't feel right.
  2. Addressed my cards while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, put them in the mail the next day.
  3. Went Christmas tree shopping the day after Thanksgiving and put it up and decorated it.
  4. Put the Charlie Brown Christmas lights up outside (although this year we went with LEDs to save the power bill!)
  5. Bought matching Christmas pajamas for me and my sister. While this may be a dorky thing to do, and my fashion conscious sister may cringe at my choices, we've always done it!
  6. Bought the ingredients for bourbon balls.
  7. Have already watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Scrooged and White Christmas.
  8. Every year when I was little, we had an embroidered tablecloth with fairy tale and stories on it. There were figurines that went on the table as a centerpiece. Nehi and the kitties like to eat things, so we didn't put the tablecloth out or put the figurines on the table, but I did put them out in the glass display case.
  9. When I was little, we had an embroidered set of three angels that we hung up. While I was decorating the tree I found the three angels, although they were no longer secured on their hanger. I restrung them, and they now proudly hang in the living room.
I hope I got it right, Mom!