I am currently sitting in my office, crying inconsolably. And I have a meeting in 15 minutes. Great.
Every once in a while, something happens that makes me think that I will never get tenure here. I don't know how realistic this is, but in the absence of anyone giving me anything more concrete, I speculate.
Today's latest is my registration numbers, which by all accounts should be high for one particular course, but are instead much lower than I expected. (And I should clarify by saying that registration numbers don't usually send me to tears...this was just the last straw in what has turned out to be a very long and trying week, in which I've really felt unsupported in various ways.)
This tells me that one of the following is true:
(1) I am a crappy teacher. This could be the case. However, this would fly against all evidence: my student evaluations are in the very good to excellent range, and have been since I've been here, and my colleagues, who have been observing my teaching for several semesters/terms, have all said that my teaching is excellent.
(2) The students prefer the teaching styles of my male colleagues. This seems more likely to me. In which case, this sucks because if I want to be a "successful" teacher here, I will have to adopt their style, even if it's totally not me at all. To me, this is wrong on so many levels.
I guess the reason that this is bothering me so much is that I really like to believe that I will be judged on my own merits, by my colleagues and by my students. I sort of see this as a message that I will be less favorably judged the less I fit the "mold" established by my colleagues. And frankly, I don't want to fit that mold, or more specifically I don't want to modify my entire personality to fit some ideal that is just not me.
OK, writing about this has made me feel a tad better---at least the sobbing has stopped. Thanks for listening! Must go run to the ladies' room to remove all traces of despair before my meeting....