• College Ready Writing

    A blog about education, higher ed, teaching, and trying to re-imagine how we provide education.


Starting the Academic Year

On not teaching (not really, anyway)

August 26, 2014

It's all over my social media feeds, and all over campus: school is starting up again. Adjuncts are finding their courses suddenly canceled or taken away (or, possibly worse, their salaries cut for various "reasons"). Everyone is making their syllabus, ordering books, discovering the limitations of the space they've been afforded to teach in. New jobs are starting, old jobs keep going on. 

And this year, I'm participating in just about none of it. 

I'm not teaching this semester, not really. No five writing-intensive courses to prep for. No pre-semester-even-starts emails from students explaining why they're missing the first week. No last-minute changes. No classes accidentally scheduled in a bathroom (true story, happened to my husband). 

No, in my new alt-ac position, teaching undergraduates isn't my focus. I will eventually find my way back into the classroom, but this first semester, I'm facilitating a one-credit, totally voluntary graduate class on teaching, and working on developing my workshops. The one-credit course is a part of a Preparing Future Faculty program for graduate students, and my primary role is to coordinate guest speakers and enter grades. Well, it's a bit more than that (I'm making it more collaborative for the students!) but it's not a three-times-a-week-heavy-lifting class I've had to develop from scratch. 

Instead, I'm going to be learning a lot this semester: learning what my peers do in their workshops, learning the ropes of the university, learning how to get a new initiative off the ground. 

It's strange and exciting. I should blog more about the process of moving into an alt-ac position, but so far it's just been shut up (which, YES, I can do), listen, and learn. Be open and willing to do and try new things. I've been constantly working on thinking about my "value-add" - in other words, what can I bring to the team? What can I do to help move along what we're trying to do? 

But right now, as the semester starts, I'm just in a strange place, because I keep thinking, isn't there something I should be doing? Aren't I forgetting something? 

Nope, not this fall. 


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