Productive Procrastination Revisited

Things I probably should’ve worked on today:

  • drafting personal statements for PhD applications
  • studying for the GRE
  • constructing a syllabus or two for courses I might be teaching
  • reviewing training notes for my new job

Things I’ve worked on instead:

  • clearing out email inboxes
  • posting on this blog (twice)
  • updating my reading/writing tumblr
  • finishing the Shutterfly book from vacation with my boyfriend

Ta-da! Productive procrastination!


A Short Retirement

As I’ve mentioned before, I stopped teaching back in April when I came to the end of my M.A. program. After I had walked in my graduation ceremony, graded final research papers, submitted course grades, and cleared out my TA office on campus in May, I decided it was time to put my “teacher life” away. My desk copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, my Harry PotterĀ course readers and articles, my pedagogy books, and my binders of assignment sheets and lesson plans were packed up in a crate and put up on a shelf. With no real prospects for a lectureship near my home and the lack of economic resources necessary to move elsewhere, I resolved myself to a life without teaching for the foreseeable future.

The spark was halfway ignited mid-June when I received the job offer for my part-time position as a professional writing tutor. Doing application simulations and training exercises for my new job have returned me to my writing center glory days at the beginning of my graduate degree program. This job is definitely reminding me of the importance of writing center work, and I absolutely love it so far. But it still isn’t teaching. There aren’t assignments to create, syllabi to write, lessons to plan, or activities to try. It just isn’t the same. And with a few applications for adjunct positions submitted and nothing back in return, it looked like I was doomed to stay in retirement.

Until yesterday, when I received a surprising email.

The subject heading was, “Teaching at —,” and the sender was a name familiar to me, the English department chair at the local community college. Several now full-time professors at my university had worked at this community college as adjunct instructors and had nothing but nice things to say. Could I be included among those privileged ranks? Was this it?

My heart pounded inside my chest as I clicked on the email, tortured by every second the internet took to load the message. (I have incredibly fast internet at home, except, of course when I have an email I really, really want to read. Or, you know, when I’m trying to purchase concert tickets). Much to my delight, it was NOT a message telling me that I suck as a teacher and should never dare apply to this institution again. Instead, it was a highly promising message telling me about the possibility of teaching classes (yes, plural!!!) there this fall and gauging my interest in said possibility.

Was I interested? Try to keep me from being interested, lady!

Unfortunately, with the email arriving late on a Friday afternoon and my affirmative message returning to her even later on a Friday afternoon, I am now stuck with the slow and painful torture that is the weekend wait. The email is just vague enough that I don’t know whether she wants to arrange an interview, or whether the classes are mine if I want them. I don’t know the details of how many classes I would be teaching, or what material they would cover, or, as I said, whether I even have classes for sure. So I am left waiting for Monday, hoping for an unexpected weekend email and dreaming of a short retirement.