There are two more weeks left in the semester. Three if you count final exams and grading. My students are exhausted. I'm exhausted, but slightly melancholy that the semester is ending. I had a really good bunch of students and I'm really going to miss them. My Salem State students -- a cohort of Early College students from Lynn English HS -- are a raucous, fun, and super smart bunch of young people. For the most part, they're hard working and pure joy to teach. My online Seton Hall students are as engaged as they can be for a class that abruptly moved from an in person to online format mere weeks before the start of classes. Like my SSU students, they are smart and funny. It's the casual chitchat and relaxed ease of class interactions that I enjoy immensely. Ah well, all good things must come to an end. It's time to relax so that I can greet my Fall 2023 classes with renewed enthusiasm. Yes, I'm teaching at SSU and Seton Hall again this fall: Women, Art and Ideology (SSU) and Art of the Western World (SHU). HOORAY!
|Just up the street from our house: The Pickering House. Photo by me.|
This past fall, I took a leave of absence from the MLIS program at Simmons. Quite honestly, I don't think I'm going back to finish the degree. In addition to teaching, I'm also working in the Center for Teaching Innovation at Salem State as an Instructional Designer. Between teaching and this job, I'm really busy and I'm really happy. As you can see from above, I adore the students at Salem State and I'm thrilled to be back in the classroom. Furthermore, I like working as an Instructional Designer because it allows me to "talk pedagogical shop" with fellow SSU professors. My coworkers are great, my bosses are wonderful, and the student body is incredible. sigh ... the only problem is that both positions are contractual and part-time.
I'm not delusional. Salem State is a public, state funded university. I absolutely understand that budgets are tight and that full-time gigs are getting increasingly hard to find. I know that teaching lines have been closed when people retire and getting them refunded is close to impossible. I also understand that my position at the CTI may never go full-time, but that's ok. I make more than enough money and I get to teach awesome students. Win-win. But hope springs eternal and I'm an unwavering optimist. Who knows what the next year or two will bring?
To be honest, if given a chance at a full-time, tenured position, I would jump on it immediately. I would take the opportunity to have another "spin around the academic dance floor," especially if that dance floor is Salem State. So, just in case -- and for my own professional and personal satisfaction -- I'm focusing on getting at least one paper written and out for review this summer. Maybe this will jump start my research and writing goals? Maybe it will get me into a cerebral routine so that I can FINALLY focus on writing my book (or two)? Maybe it will get me to the point of submitting proposals to give papers at conferences again? Maybe I'll finally make all of my dreams come true? Who knows.
Cross your fingers and do whatever mojo you do. The Professor is back in the academic saddle and ready for one last try at cracking this nut!