Things have changed. I never thought they would change in the way that they have, but so here we are. I changed positions. I had for the last four years been the assistant program director of the Lilly Fellows Program. At the end of August, that position concluded and I started at Purdue University North Central as a Continuing Lecturer in History, which entails administering the history and political science features of its concurrent enrollment program. Such a change.
It’s now November and I have been teaching a couple sections of US history – for the first time in about five years – and it is such a lot of fun. I know, I know, I am not supposed to be teaching for my own benefit. I should teach for the benefit of my students, for their edification, their betterment. Of course, that is the primary goal, but until that goal is revealed as having been reached, I will take small comfort in the fact that I am having a blast. Sure, sure, I get annoyed when they don’t show up prepared or if they look like they would rather be any where else but in my classroom. I particularly get steamed when I tell them to stop texting and put their phones away, again, but that’s apparently how things are. Kids today…
When I am not teaching, I put on my administrator hat and coordinate secondary school teachers who teach US History and Political Science in their schools for college credit. This is the Dual Credit or Concurrent Enrollment Program. I admire the teachers who take on these classes in their schools. It is added work and they are trying to help their students earn college credit. I admire the students who want to take on college-level course work as high school students. There is a lot I need to learn, yet. I don’t mind. The worst thing I could do is walk into my classroom or my work as the history and poli sci liaison is to assume I know everything.
This new position also means I am more in the academy than I once was while at the Lilly Fellows Program. I’ve done nutty things like attend faculty meetings (a first for me). As a continuing lecturer, I have this position until May of 2017. (I just learned that my contract will be extended another year.) After that – who knows. As a trailing spouse (my dislike of this term is growing – not to the level of “alt-ac“- but growing – seriously alt-ac sounds like a fungus or something for which one should get vaccinated), I do not have as many choices as I would like, but I have choices. (Kelly J. Baker writes well and thoughtfully on the life and career of the trailing spouse.)
When I learned over a year ago that my position at the Lilly Fellows Program would end, I won’t lie, I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what would be next. Of course there was the economic concerns, but you’ll have that. Then the usual questions came up about whether or not I would have a “career” or would I just have a series of “jobs.” Would I ever “make a difference?” Be “successful?” I spent a few months eventually pretending I was going to “take some time” to figure out “what I wanted.”
Yes, I like air quotes.
Because if my immediate future employment meant adjuncting, I wasn’t (and still am) not certain that would be enough. And I am not even talking about economics although that is important too. I needed (and still need) to resolve what makes the most sense for me and my husband and our lives here and now. No one else can make that decision.
(This all seems obvious, but when did any academically minded person see the trees before their library books? And yes, I also like speaking parenthetically. So?)
But back to change. I had gotten used to the rhythms of the LFP life. I had made friends. What would happen when I left? Fortunately, the world did not end. (Phew) My friends are still there. I love my new job. My students are gems! My co-workers are super (even if one of them is my husband – yes he is – that is a post for another time.)! Change, as it turned out, was not a bad thing. I may have to rethink my entire world view. Maybe.
So what will be next? Maybe I will post more. Baby steps.