Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to school time

For most of central Texas, today is the first day of school. But not for me. I started Thursday. Despite what I said before, I have gone back to teach one more year at Texas State University-San Marcos.

All summer I was job hunting and while some things seemed promising, there were few jobs I was actually really interested in. However, I've heard that it takes a month for every $10K worth of salary one was looking for and since it had only been three months, I expected it would take several months yet. Then I got a note from the university. They were in need of a PR teacher. I was already slated to teach one class and they asked if I would think about returning full time for at least another year. A raise was offered, as well as an opportunity to apply for a more permanent position, so I had to consider it. My class schedule was basically two days a week, which would allow time to grow my own business as well as the consulting business Doug and I are starting. I asked if I could have a similar schedule in the spring so I could continue my networking, and they said yes. There wasn't a lot of downside, so I said yes.

It ended up that my one evening class didn't make, so I am back teaching the same three classes I did last year -- Intro to PR, PR Writing and two sections of PR Campaigns, all on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Additionally, I'm auditing a multimedia Web design class, also on TTH. Throw in five hours of office hours and I have a full day on each of those days, from 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Two weeks ago when I went to sign paperwork, I grabbed my mail from the summer, which included class evals and letters from the VP of academic affairs. The later informed me of certain students who, upon graduation, listed me as one of the professors who made a difference in their college life, along with any comments those students made. I had a half dozen from spring graduation and it was very touching. I also read my class evals. About 95 percent were extremely positive, with one student per class saying something like I was too hard and assigned too much work, I seemed to think this was the only class they took, etc., etc. etc. Of course, I took those for what they were worth -- after all, until they get a job where they are expected to work 50+ hours a week in a pressure cooker, they don't know what work is.

I guess I must not be too disliked, both of my Campaigns classes are filled to the brim, with 20 students. The past two semesters the classes were capped at 15. The other section of Campaigns only has 13 students with 6 open seats. I'm sure there are reasons for that, but on Thursday, when the students started talking about the teacher for that section and the things he does, I put a moratorium on it. Hearing about him just raises my blood pressure and I wasn't going through it again this semester.

Seeing the students, especially in one of my Campaigns classes, was like old home week. Now that it's my fifth semester of teaching, I've had many of the students, either in Intro or PR Writing. Two girls I've had in both, and realistically, they should get a different perspective from another professor, but I know that I'm the best and right now, they don't have much options.

I think some of my friends thought I would be more excited than I am. It's almost like I'm resigned to teaching. That's not exactly right, but as hard of a decision as it was to leave, it was just as hard to return. Mentally, it took a lot for me to separate the identity of a teacher from who I was, but after several months, I had done it. Now I have to reconcile that part of me back into the whole. But it's only been one day and that was mainly getting to know the students. Give me a few more class periods to get into the swing of things, and then I'll be excited.


Unknown said...

"they don't have much options"

Are you entering a beauty pagent? What's with the grammar her Dara?

got a smile reading your blog, T.

Unknown said...

and I didn't even proof read my own comment, her should be here