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

When Your Heart Sings
September 10, 2013 - 8:21pm

My original blog was fueled in part by my frustration and disillusionment over the current situation in higher education. I was angry and fed up and blogging about it before it was cool to be angry and fed up and blogging about it. It was also about trying to become an entrepreneur, carving out my own little alt-ac space for myself. But I was torn when I returned to teaching, full-time, off the tenure-track, knowing the limitations and heavy expectation that were being placed on me, that I willingly placed on myself.

I just re-read that post, having forgotten my closing lines:

If the situation changes, I have no problem walking away, starting (however begrudgingly) over, again. Maybe by then we'll have managed to pay off some our debt. Maybe by then, I'll be able to leave on my own terms, not there’s. Perhaps that is the best lesson I can teach my kids.

I’ll never regret my time spent unemployed and trying to start a (failed) business. I returned, to a certain extent, to the things that I loved the most: writing - specifically in an online environment. Being in the middle of nowhere forced me to reach out through social media to form a community, and blogging allowed me to rediscover my own voice in my writing. Finding Digital Humanities reminded me that I have skills that are becoming increasingly valuable, as well as the ability to quickly teach myself and learn new ones.

The situation, clearly, has changed. Teaching off the tenure-track energized my writing, insofar as I was able to write both about my teaching and about being contingent faculty. I shared my stories and my challenges with my readers and my community, received support, and gained the strength to be innovative in my pedagogy and outspoken in my writing. I also expanded my network and began to see all of the various options and outlets for me that extended beyond the classroom, and even beyond the institution. I realized how much I have to offer, as well as different ways I could offer them.

If I have been more silent lately on the blog it is because things have changed. It’s changed to the point where it’s time to move on. I didn’t look at the beginning of the semester with optimism and glee, then perhaps my heart is telling me it isn’t in it anymore. My classes are going well, don’t get me wrong, and my students are still one of my top priorities. But it no longer makes my heart sing the way it used to.

And then I saw this job ad. Something about the description, but also the work involved, resonated deeply within me. This, I said, is something not only I could do, but that I would LOVE to do. I would be writing, engaging with scholars, doing social media, facilitation public scholarship...This, I knew right in that moment, is my dream job. This made my heart sing.

I applied. I probably won’t get it, but I now know what kinds of jobs I should be looking for, as well as what extra skills I need to develop in order to be even more competitive for positions like this. It’s a privilege, I know, to find a job that makes your heart sing. I feel like I’ve worked my whole life, twists and turns and everything, to get to this point. Now, I finally know what I want. I just have to figure out how to get it. 

And to start blogging again. Let the next chapter begin.

 

 

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