Sometimes I get cranky and bored (you're shocked, I know), and I fantasize about how everything would be endlessly exciting and fabulous if only I had a different job. Depending on the season of the year when this mood strikes, I spend time browsing either my regional independent school organization's job listings or the MLA job list.
This month's episode of feeling wiped out and cranky has meant some quality time reading the MLA list, even though it's perfectly obvious that I've been out of academia for so long now that there's really no way back in. But sometimes I think that maybe I could get a job in English Education, what with having years of experience in both the "English" and the "Education" pieces.
So that's how I found myself musing at unreasonable length on a particular job ad last month: an English Education position at San Jose State University. (The link is to a .pdf of the full job description.)
Not that I was actually up for moving to San Jose, which has a high cost of living comparable to the expensive area I live in, while I would probably be making a lower salary. Which is to say that I actually looked up salaries and cost of living, even though I had no intention of applying -- because when I muse at unreasonable length, I take it seriously!
The reason I mused at such length is that I realized that I actually met all -- or could argue that I met -- of the stated qualifications:
- Ph.D. in English or English Education. Check.
- Experience in Writing Program administration. I actually was the administrator of our FGS Writing Center for six years. Certainly the way a Writing Program would work in a college is different from a high school, but I could make an argument.
- Experience in advising candidates in an English teacher preparation program -- well, no, but in my first year I was asked to mentor a brand-new English teacher who was having some problems, so I sat in on her class at least once a week and met with her regularly.
- Experience in teaching Methods of Teaching English (no) or Young Adult and Children's Literature (yes!) .
- Ability to teach in other areas related to the preparation of secondary-school teachers of English. I'm not sure what these other areas are, but I'm sure I could do it, whatever it is. Plus I have two pedagogy-related publications in English Journal in recent years, so that would have to look good.
I was rather surprised to find that I could imagine writing a letter of application for this position, which is why I found myself musing at greater length than the situation deserved, since I'm really not interested in relocating at this point. It was the opportunity to imagine myself in a different scenario that seemed so attractive -- and especially to imagine myself in California at the very moment that Adventure City is sliding into winter!
But of course the grass isn't always greener on the other side (even if, literally, the grass in San Jose will very soon be greener than the winter grass in Adventure City). If the "qualifications" listed for this position grabbed my interest, the "responsibilities" quickly turned me off. First of all, why is English Education always linked with writing centers? I mean, I guess I do see why, but I'm really not interested in running a writing center. And I certainly don't want to write grants to maintain a writing center and to have the amount of money I raise be a "necessary component" of tenure. Yikes!
And I also don't actually know how I'd teach English Education courses, although it's something I'm increasingly interested in. When I observe an English teacher at work, I have a very clear sense about what I think is working well and what isn't, but I can't actually articulate what it is that I think teachers should be doing. It's like obscenity -- I know it when I see it, but I don't know how to define it.
It's also interesting to think about whom I would get to write me letters of recommendation ... and to recognize that, at this point, everyone who would have relevant and complimentary and recent things to say about me are all in the independent secondary school world. Not surprising, since this is the world I've been in for 7+ years now, but good to bear in mind when I start fantasizing different lives for myself.
Hmm, you know, as I wrote that last paragraph, I suddenly thought, "Oh, maybe this crankiness is the seven-year-itch." And maybe that really is all it is.
Fortunately, there are only two weeks of classes left in the term, and then we have exams. I'm ready for a slight change of pace, and even though the end of the term and the coming of exams means work, it's a different kind of work. And there are more days in which I get to hang out on my couch in sweats doing work instead of performing in front of the class. And then when we come back from Thanksgiving, I only have two weeks of teaching before winter break. (Everyone else will have more teaching and a shorter break, but I'm taking off the last three days of school because D. is having her second shoulder operated on -- the same surgery as she had in May, but this time on her non-dominant shoulder.) And by the time I got back to school in January, it will still be cold and miserable, but the days will be getting longer.
Plus, I took a three-hour nap after school yesterday and then slept for almost ten hours last night, so in general my crankiness is diminishing anyway! I am now officially deleting that San Jose State job ad from my computer desktop and hereby declaring that I need to get over myself already.