Monday, January 02, 2012

So *that* was a year...

I tend to treat the new year as an opportunity to look forward rather than back, but given that 2011 was largely a very good year by most measures, a quick glance is in order I think. The highlights:

  • tenure
  • book contract
  • sabbatical approved
So those were the big professional milestones, all in some way slated for this year (contractually, or at least mentally), and so while in many ways this was a big year, it was also kind of pro forma. I know, easy for me to say. But because it was kind of pro forma, it also left me thinking and worrying about a number of other things.

Willow's job/career was one of them. Because of some unfortunate local culture issues, although she was perfectly well qualified (and in some ways over-qualified), she could not secure a permanent teaching position either at BRU or the local school system. This was, indeed, an issue, and my professional successes in the first half of the year were very much colored by her frustrations. And then, in August, sort of out of left field, this unexpectedly great opportunity arose as the Provost's Assistant, and she has gone to being deeply disenchanted with this place and this institution to being unexpectedly optimistic about her and our prospects.

This about-face has meant that my own thinking about my career path has been widely divergent, going from feeling somewhat apologetic about not only the modicum of success, but also a certain level of career commitment, to feeling oddly, not ambitious enough. All of this will sort itself out soon enough, I think, as we both acclimate to our changing professional positions and environments, but it's been a change.

The teaching year was honestly a familiar one, though at some point I may talk about the two tasks that really consumed my attention this year: developing the foundations course in the major, and become one of the department's undergraduate advisors. Both of these things sort of pulled me away from my research a smidge, but more importantly, pulled me away from my specialization, in good ways I think: forcing me to think about my specific areas of expertise in broader contexts, and to remind me of the things I haven't developed expertise on, but still nonetheless feel quite passionate about--a broad humanistic approach that is not currently emphasized in the current educational climate.

Meanwhile, our children are growing, forming personalities, achieving things, really just becoming people on their own. Willow's new job means I've been a more active parent, which has been a positive change in many ways, attuning me honestly to rhythms of childhood life that are grounding.

In sum, 2011 has been a positive year, and I'm certainly more comfortable and secure than I was at the end of 2010. How I use that security and comfort in 2012 is another matter, and perhaps this space will document that more thoroughly.

1 comment:

feMOMhist said...

totally off topic but I can't find a contact link. I listed you on my "versatile bloggers" post