There are two things I want to say about teaching secondary school in an independent school environment:
1. (And foremost) I adore it.
2. It keeps you really, really busy.
In the 2 months since I last had time to post, I’ve graded tons of papers and small assignments, led my English students through The Scarlet Letter, escorted my sophomores through the research paper process (AND India and China in the interwar years AND World War II AND Europe since 1945), taken my AP students from early US history to the Mexican-American War, experienced parent-teacher conferences, supported Open House, attended two school plays, and enjoyed my first extended holiday break (Wed-Sun Thanksgiving).
It’s been an amazing and crazy time, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Teaching secondary school is something that keeps me insanely busy, but I love it because it’s something that engages me on multiple levels. It works for the insane organizer and scheduler in me, the creative parts of myself, the teacher in me (of course), and the reader in me. I’m always on the go with this job, which can spell insanity sometimes, but really just means I’m generally happily engaged in something or another.
(Also, I rediscovered my love of reading and take FULL ADVANTAGE of the fact that I now have an entire school library at my disposal.)
This past week, I’ve spent more than a few moments reflecting briefly on the change between this year and last year. This time last year, I was a BALL OF STRESS, waiting to talk to my advisor about the first full dissertation draft and hoping-praying-wanting AHA interviews so badly. I never got those AHA interviews – although I had a grand old time at AHA in Boston, what with hanging out with good friends and all that.
Now, what a difference a year makes. I’m still heading to AHA in January, but I have ZERO interest in being on the job market. And if you’re wondering about that? No, I’m not on the academic job market this year, nor do I intend to ever be again. I’ve found where I want to be and hope to be here many, many years. (Not that that will stop me at all from pursuing some fun things like speaking engagements or article writing – when I have some time – or even getting around to publishing my dissertation some day.)
This year, I’ll be at AHA as a presenter (Sunday morning, a session on the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). I’ll also be checking out the TeachingHistory.org workshop on Saturday morning about using digital sources – something my department at Independent School is already really into, so it’s a good fit. Beyond that, I see the Chicago AHA as a great chance to reconnect with old friends while I make some new professional connections.
But one of these days, I’d like to weigh in on that whole “Plan B” discussion that the AHA started. Clearly, I have no problems with looking beyond the professoriate for job possibilities, and it’s something that worked out well for me. If anyone’s interested in putting together a panel proposal with me for AHA 2013 regarding the Plan B issues, etc., let me know.
For now, though, I’m off to enjoy my last half-day before school resumes. Not that I’m not looking forward to this week, mind you. Here’s what I’m looking forward to when we get back to the classroom tomorrow:
1. Wrapping up Kate Chopin’s The Awakening with my junior English class
2. Introducing the same class to Fitzgerald and modernism and The Great Gatsby
3. Telling my AP students all about Bleeding Kansas and John Brown and all that – all in the context of football rivalries, since I’m a Mizzou grad, of course
4. Helping my sophomores learn some good note-taking skills as we begin our unit on Asia since 1945.
5. Giving a presentation in assembly tomorrow about the SUPER-AWESOME summer course we’re trying to offer. The one in which I will get to live my dream of being a pirate. Kind of. Only I don’t think they called them “pirates” but more likely “sailors”. (More on that soon.)