Bons mots

  • "We live as though the world were what it should be, to show it what it can be."
    ~ Angel, "Deep Down," Season 4

  • It is difficult
    to get the news from poems
    yet men die miserably every day
    for lack
    of what is found there.
    ~ William Carlos Williams, from “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”

Stuff to do before school starts

  • Write rec letter for former advisee
  • Set up a LibGuide for student writing workshops/publications/etc.
  • Finish reading Ron Ritchhart's Creating Cultures of Thinking
  • Request a new whiteboard for side wall of classroom
  • Clear off desk at home so that it's a good workspace
  • Decide on "essential questions and skills" for AP Lit
  • Decide on "essential questions and skills" for 10th grade
  • Decide on "essential questions and skills" for 9th grade
  • Revamp 9th-grade final project & set up start of school to reflect that change
  • Set up Schoology page for AP Lit
  • Set up Schoology page for 10th grade
  • Set up Schoology page for 9th grade
  • Reread The Joy Luck Club
  • Reread Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Reread Tess of the d'Urbervilles

House and home projects

  • Touch up hallway paint & add lightswitch plate
  • Paint foyer door and replace door handles
  • File down top of coat closet door & repaint it
  • Stain the wooden floor strip (part of our new door installation)
  • Get sump pump serviced
  • Get doorbell fixed -- fixed by our neighbor! I do still want to figure out how to turn up the volume
  • Paint the bulkhead doors
  • Mow the lawn & place the mosaic tiles by the front steps
  • Replace the smoke alarms

« The disgruntlement of being a student again | Main | Some further thoughts »

January 19, 2013

Comments

Wow, so interesting--and complicated!

My immediate (i.e., not thoroughly thought-through--what a tongue-twister) thoughts:

If this happened at SA, I'm guessing that the GGE, an upper-level administrator who has also been (though isn't now) an English teacher, would probably serve for a year.

Your department is showing off its functionality and collegiality by even having this discussion. I can think of SA depts that would be flamboyantly displaying their lack of both around this kind of uncertainty!

You are in a position to negotiate here. Whatever the head has up her sleeve is probably going to be worth mulling over. I know you've shared with me that FGS is very transparent about salary and there isn't a lot of room to negotiate that--but there are other things, like time (except I gather that you don't want to teach much less) and the possibility of D. working there. If you look like the obvious person to your colleagues--and I'm sure you look like the obvious person to the head--well, then, there is strong incentive to make it possible for the obvious person to do it.

Do you have a sense yet of how open they might be to hiring D.?

So exciting!

MS, it's really not clear at all how open they'll be to hiring D., and for me that's the big open question. If it were simply not a possibility, then I would be happy to negotiate doing the chair position for a year, keeping my current fifth-period equivalence, and teaching one less class.

On the other hand, if none of us internal folks takes on the position, and the sabbatical replacement is therefore also the chair, then there won't be a non-chair temporary position for D. to apply for at all! So the whole D. possibility is only an issue if we take care of department leadership internally.

It's all very convoluted and complicated. Oy.

What about seeking out someone in an allied department (social studies? foreign lang?) and seeing if they would be interim chair? Especially if the chair wouldn't deal with curricular issues for the year and truly focus on administrative things? That would at least keep the position internal to the school...

Thanks for the suggestion, Hypatia ... but I would bet good money that the departmental functionality and collegiality that MS noted would disappear fairly quickly if someone from another department were put in the interim chair role! We all get along quite well, but we have a strong sense of departmental boundaries in the upper school! (but not in the middle school, where lots of folks teach in multiple departments.)

Splitting between two (one taking a course release in each term?) can work. Rarely does splitting among more. At least in my experience.

At my place, we had someone from one department step in to chair a department in the short run (up to a year). That can work well if the outsider has both institutional experience and good people skills to work with the new department but that entirely depends on the department culture, so I understand your hesitation.

Good luck!

I LOVE the option of two people sharing the job, and I'd be impressed if the administration allowed it as a possibility. We've kicked around the idea here, because overall no one really wants to be chair, but there are two of us who might consider being talked into it, and we would love to do it together. We've both (at different times) been interim chair, and we each frequently consult the other - she's sensible about the things I don't get, and vice versa, so I think between us we make a really decent chair. (Which is not really the situation you're talking about, but I got so excited about seeing someone actually consider that possibility that I had to share. There's no way our dept. would actually let that happen.)

At least it sounds like everyone's being open and honest and well-meaning about the possibilities and what they mean, which is the biggest hurdle for things like this. Keeping my fingers crossed for D. and for a good chair solution for you!

As an economist, my main thought is... what can be done to the job to make it so it would be worthwhile to you as a one year position? How much additional salary or course reduction or modified duties etc? What would it take for it to be worthwhile for you and keep you still writing your book? You could also ask for a guarantee that you'd get your magazine position back and not do hockey.

Each one of your colleagues could be thinking about what it would take for them as well...

Since one can get a little crazy with brainstorming, here is a crazy/creative thought - what about a student taking on some of the role (a senior, or recent grad taking a gap year).

in my department, we have an interim "triumvirate." One person is the named head, and then 2 help out. Each has a discrete role. No one wanted to be head - esp because we are hiring and are a state school -- hiring therefore takes far longer than anyone expects -- thus there is no clear end in sight. I think it is working quite well, and faculty were involved in finding this solution, which has definitely helped ensure its success.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Who is this What Now?

  • I'm an English teacher at a pretty darned good high school (the justly famous Fabulous Girls' School, or FGS). I am partner to D. We live in an adorable, messy little house in Adventure City, where we are hoping to have more frequent adventures than we have thus far. Two cats -- the Muse and the Contemplative -- live with us and keep life at home plenty adventurous.

    Email me at whatnowblogger at yahoo dot com.

Blog powered by Typepad