One of my self-described roles here at Hook&Eye is to be a voice from the non-tenured stream. While I certainly don’t pretend to be the voice of or a voice for CLTAs, LTAs, and sessionals I did make a goal for myself to speak as frankly as possible about my life as a limited term appointment who is on the job market. As I discovered in one of my earliest posts, being frank–especially in public!– feels risky. Honestly, sometimes I worry that speaking as a non-tenured faculty member will pigeon hole me as the non-tenured faculty member… But I digress.
So let me fess up: in the last month or so my deliberately cultivated and self-preserving pluck has been worn a bit thin. I’ve been down, both bogged down and blue. Part of this is March, which is a notoriously difficult month for many of us. Part of this is the resounding number of rejections I’ve received in the last month (jobs, grants). Part of it is the ennui that comes with thinking “what has all this work accomplished?” And part of my pluck has been worn down by things I can’t write about on the blog despite the fact that they might well be the most informative and useful for others in a similar limited term position.
But, as my dear friend and mentor reminded me earlier this week, it gets better. As we head into the last week(s) of the term I find my spirits lifting, and part of that lifting is due to the “free time” that is factored into my current contract. I’m on a 10-month contract that ends next month, and while a new contract begins in August, for the months of June and July I am technically unemployed. Why “free”? Because in the meantime I’ll be busy working on the research and writing that is quite difficult to maintain when teaching an overload. In the coming months I’m aiming to revise and resubmit an article, write three (lengthy) book reviews, prepare a book proposal, and write three conference papers (one of which I intend to turn into an article). Oh yes, and plot out my lectures for fall. And have regular picnics at the lake. Ooh, and finally take a photography class so that I can take pictures like this one by Eric Johansson! Hmm. When typed out that looks like quite a bit.
Back in September I wrote a post about resolutions for the new school year. Most of these resolutions had to do with maintaining a a regular writing schedule (er…), keeping class preparation to a reasonable amount of time (hah!), and keeping myself healthful and active (not bad, actually). Readers, it is time for me to revisit those resolutions.
In the next several weeks I’ll be planing out my summer plans, the work as well as the play. I wonder if, like me, you have grand plans for both? How do you intend to both refuel and produce over the summer months? How do you manage your non-teaching time?