Thursday, November 10, 2011

Do I Even Apply?

So how in the heck does time keep flying by so fast?!?! The last time I checked it was the end of October, beginning of November and now here we are nearly at Veteran's Day. Yikes. (and it doesn't help that I am already starting to hear Christmas music!)

I desperately need to write today because I am having a bit of a dilemma. I am thinking about applying for an English position at St Martin's University in Lacey, WA. For those who don't know, I graduated from this fabulous college (back when it was St Martin's College!) in 1991. I have always said that my dream job would be teaching at St Martin's alongside my fabulous mentors and friends Les and Mary. Mary is about to retire and Les, well .... he passed away last December and I don't think I am exactly "over" that even now. Would I still want to be there teaching if these folks aren't there? Are the dreams you have at one point in your life the same dreams that you now have? I don't know if I can answer that (and by hesitating, does that mean that I don't really want this job?).

I like lists so here is a pro/con (to make it simple and didactic!):


* I would get to move home (the Pacific Northwest).
* I would get to hang out with cool friends that I never get to see
* I would be teaching students that I would get to interact with for longer than the short amount of time that I do now (since our students transfer to a four year school just when we start having fun!)
* It's a 4/4 load so that is one less class than I am teaching now per semester
* I might have the chance to play an active role in helping to shape a writing program (I didn't notice any rhet/comp folks in the faculty listings)
* Getting a job offer would mean making sure that I finish my dissertation this summer


* The deadline for the job application is coming up soon -- I would need three letters of recc. by Nov 21 (just over a week away!) Who would be willing to do this?! Do I let my Dean know?
* My dissertation is not finished. But the job opening does say needed "at time of appointment." So perhaps I would need to have it done sooner to be considered since I am guessing that the appointment would come sometime in the Spring Semester?
* Money -- I am pretty sure I would be taking a pay cut. I would also lose out on a PhD bonus at my school.
* More money -- I suspect the standard of living is going to be higher in WA than where we live now (MO)
* Jim would need to leave his family and the only area he has ever lived -- would his family hate me for "making" him move with me?
* We would have to either sell our wonderful loft or rent it (and that would mean living in a house since the Olympia, WA, area doesn't have the skyline for lofts).
* Logistically, this could be a tough move since we would probably have to do it ourselves.
* What about all my great and fabulous friends here?
* If offered an interview -- these are being done at MLA in Seattle (Late Dec) -- I would need to pay for a plane ticket and hotel costs.
* If offered a position, I don't know 100% how stable SMU is -- I am assuming my job here at SWIC is pretty stable since I am tenured.
* Which means I would have to go through the tenure process again

Questions to ask at a possible interview (and there is no guarantee that I would even get one anyway):

* What is the pay scale?
* How exactly is FYC organized at SMU?
* How active a role can I play in shaping FYC at SMU?
* Is publishing a requirement for every year of teaching?
* How does the tenure process work?
* How much does plain good teaching count?

Given the committee's responses to these questions, would I fit it? Would this be a place that I would enjoy teaching at? I want to be happy. I don't just want to jump ship at SWIC because this job position has been a "dream" for so long. Do I even still want this "dream"? Do I want to teach what I think are primarily traditionally aged students instead of the great diversity I have here in the two-year college system?

I am not the best teacher in the world but I think I am pretty darn okay. I work super hard at what I do and spend lots of time, energy, and even money preparing courses, discussions, activities, and assignments. I would love to have the opportunity to do this for a college that gave me so much when I needed it as a confused, knowledge-thirsty young adult.


  1. You know what's funny? I bet I only need to mention the theme song to "Welcome Back, Kotter" and it will be stuck in your head for days.

  2. 1. Applying doesn't commit you to anything. Not applying commits you to not knowing for sure. (This is the voice of experience)

    2. Mom isn't leaving the college yet. She's just moving to a position that will be a better fit for what she has to offer SMU.

    3. You wouldn't need to pay for a hotel for the interview process if you talked to your little sister who happens to have a house with a spare room and a car she doesn't use during the week in Seattle.

    4. There are 100 solutions to the money questions. I started to type one out and realized there were too many to put in a post comment.

    5. I don't hate Jim for giving you a good reason to stay in MO, even if I do wish I could see more of you. I doubt his family/friends would hate you... forever ;)

    6. If you don't apply I'll be forced to fly out there to personally kick your butt. (There are better ways to get me to visit)

    You are loved, courageous, and wise. Take the first step and see where your path takes you.

    Huge Hugs,

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