Saturday, November 18, 2006

On Work in the Academy -- A Preface

After watching a couple inspiring episodes of The Wire (one of my fave shows ever) I was inspired to finally begin writing my long-proposed series of blog entries on working in the academy. This entry will serve as a preface in that it's not entirely about the academy but more about one of the things that lured me into academia -- teaching (the other is writing, but that entry will be much, much later).

Both my parents were trained as teachers. My mom did a two-year teaching certificate at U of Regina (then a subsidiary of U of Sask.), and my dad did a B.Ed. at the same place (geography and economics double major, stats minor -- and he did it in 3 full years).

I remember mom telling me that she didn't do a full degree because she didn't feel she could afford it, even with student loans -- she came from a pretty poor background. She worked outside of school every year she was in uni. Mom has always been a champion of my continuing student status, and it's affected me greatly ever since I was wee. In fact, she went back to university when my sis and I were kids, and she did so while working, which pretty effing impressive, in my books -- I can barely manage my own household, and I don't have kids or a full-time job in my field outside of school. My dad has always encouraged me to write, because he says being able to write naturally is a gift -- which it can be, but it's also a skill that those not so comfortable with writing can learn, and I hope I can help people with their writing skills through my career. I'm lucky, because not all perma-students have great support from their family, and that makes finishing the long journey towards the PhD even more difficult. I don't think my parents are supportive because they were teachers (both work in other fields now), but perhaps their teaching background makes them more understanding of my long-term goal -- to be a professor at a university.

Huh. Typing it out makes it sound so boring, but I can assure you that I didn't half-assedly decide to purse an academic career. I didn't just get into grad school and never get out. I only took one year off, but that year, combined with the previous MA year at Jackass Uni, solidified my desire to become an English prof. Oh, I guess I should also add that my (combined) years of being a piano teacher, a research assistant, a teaching assistant and an impromptu-sure-I'll-help-you-with-your-essay-tutor.... well, all those things helped too.

So now, here I am, a working member of the academy. Right now I'm a research assistant, a teaching assistant and a full-time PhD ABD student, and I'm going to write an entry on each of these jobs in the next couple weeks.

So check back soon.
doctor T 1:22 a.m.


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