Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ambivalence

That's the best word to describe how I feel right now. Particularly about the start of the new school year.

I'm ambivalent about the start of school, partly, because this has been a really productive summer for me, research-wise. Of course research doesn't stop when classes start, but I am a bit resentful that I now have to split my energies and attention between teaching and research. Yes, I realize that's why I'm in this job in the first place, and yes, I do really enjoy this usually, but right now, coming off of a summer where 90-95% of my energy was spent on research and where I made seriously substantial progress on my work, it's been really hard to make this adjustment.

But mainly I'm ambivalent because I'm still reeling from the fiasco that was my third year review last year. A big part of me can't get excited about teaching because, well, what's the use? I'm not at all sure that I am going to get tenure here. I'm trying so hard not to think this way, to take the view that I know my weaknesses as a teacher and can work on them and become a better teacher. And I do have to say that I'm so excited about my classes---I have great students (for the most part, so far), I absolutely love the material I'm teaching, I feel more prepared than I have before, and I have some great ideas for improving my teaching that I'm looking forward to putting into practice. But I can't get over the despair and the feeling that in the end, it still won't be enough. Hence, the ambivalence.

What I'm going to do today, to try and get myself fired up to teach, is to reflect a bit on my goals for the coming school year. Geeky Mom had a great post recently on academic year resolutions, and so I'm going to come up with my own resolutions. And if all else fails, I have a sabbatical to look forward to later this year---which, if all else fails, should serve as some kind of motivator for me.

2 comments:

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oh, yeah, I hear you on this on. I completely understand what you're talking about. Here's wishing you more motivation and energy for teaching once you start (and more sympathetic students and colleagues!).

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