It's now officially summer!
My two weeks of pretending that it was already summer -- even though we were in the midst of final exams and faculty meetings and a whole bunch of work -- sort of worked, in that I adopted a "the living is easy" philosophy even as I was plowing through grading. Must remember this for next June.
I had a lovely lunch on Friday with the "real" department chair (Dr. Chair); she brought me flowers and bought lunch, because she said I had helped to make her sabbatical so wonderful, both through my leadership of the department and through my emails keeping her in the loop about various things. Apparently her most frequent response to my emails about this or that problem was "Oh, it's not just me!" So she's coming back with a new sense that there are some screwed up things at FGS (as there are at all schools, of course) and that not all of the problems can or should be laid at her door, which is very heartening for her.
I also had the same conversation with her that I'd had with the Librarian earlier in the week. Spurred by the emotional rollercoaster of my interactions with the head of school, I'd been wondering whether I should look for another job next year; the very thought makes me tired, but if I'm going to do it, next year would be a good year to do so, since I'm just coming off my year as interim department head and I'll be teaching AP Lit for the first time this coming year. Both of them convinced me that there's no need for me to do so; as enumerated by one or both of them, here's why there's no need to go to another school:
- The head of school doesn't actually have that much to do with my day-to-day life, and the administrators and colleagues who do have something to do with daily life all think I'm great.
- I'm getting to the point in my tenure (7 years now) where I'm gaining real authority at the school simply on the basis of longevity, not to mention the authority I've gained from the work I've done and the reputation I have. Do I really want to start all over at a new school?
- The head of school is about to turn 60 and has been at FGS for six years now. If she's going to retire from FGS, she'll probably do so in the next five or six years. If she's going to move to another school, she'll need to do so before then. Either way, I'll outlast her at the school. Plenty of longterm FGS faculty had tons of problems with the last head of school (although I'll always be grateful to her for hiring me!), and they're still here and she's long gone.
- According to Dr. Chair, the head of school frequently makes oversimplified judgments so as to decide that something is all one person's fault (I think it makes it easier for her to "close the books" on a problem), but she also compartmentalizes and doesn't necessarily universalize those judgments about a person. So the fact that the head of school is convinced that the failure of the book is all my fault doesn't necessarily mean that she thinks any less of me in other arenas.
- Plus, I'm thinking of applying in the fall for a sabbatical in spring 2016, which would have me committed to be at FGS through 2017.
- I do take as instructive the experience of my friend and colleague who left FGS three years ago for better and brighter opportunities at another school, one that gave her a better title and paid her more money, ... and two years later she was back at FGS in a one-year sabbatical replacement for Dr. Chair. And she's staying on next year even though we can only offer her an 80% position. I must remember that, although the grass always appears greener at another school, it ain't necessarily so. All schools have their problems, and at least I know what those problems are at FGS, and they're not particularly bad for the most part. Things could be much worse.
So I'm staying put for now, but it's always good to know that I can look elsewhere if I decide that's the thing to do.
This weekend has mostly just been bowing down before the exhaustion. Yesterday morning I got up, showered, dressed, ate breakfast ... and then decided that I was too tired to face the day, got back undressed, went back to bed, and slept until noon. Today I actually stayed up once I got up, since I was going to an afternoon party to celebrate the Librarian's retirement, but then I was so tired when I got home at 4:00 that I parked myself in the backyard and spent the rest of the day napping and trying to read but being too tired to do so much.
My project for the week to come is cleaning the house, which is in a disastrous state. Our nieces are coming next Saturday, so the house has to be excavated by then, and that deadline will be helpful in keeping me on task. But then we'll have an excavated house that's easier to keep clean for the rest of the summer, which will be a delightful reward for what will be a hard week of labor.