Saturday, August 12, 2006

I have mountains of stuff to do, vast endless mountains of preparation and grading, however the stress has been getting to me a bit. Sometimes when that happens you just need to unplug. I got up at seven this morning and pulled The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis, down off the bookshelf. I had read it cover to cover by ten thirty a.m. and then spent the rest of the day knocking out important paperwork for a local community college. Sometimes I have to go left to get right.

In compiling the paperwork I felt like they wanted everything but a blood sample before they put me on payroll. I had do dig up addresses for the last seven years and contact information for former employers stretching back just as long. This wouldn’t have been too painful if I’d only had a few jobs, but I’ve been working at least part time since I was fourteen.

Theoretically the FBI was supposed to streamline this process, but of course they’ve actually added a few layers of paperwork. I am socialized, or institutionalized, enough at this point to anticipate the needs of higher education bureaucracy and have a master binder from which I can pull all the needed info, but I still had to make a trip up to Kinko’s to finalize my file.

To clarify the “why” of the paperwork, I am teaching three dual enrollment classes so my high school students’ will get college credit. I will get a small bonus stipend from the college for every student that enrolls in the program and thus I need to be cleared to work for the college. Once I am cleared they might also offer me spillover evening and weekend classes for adults. My debt picture is not great right now and any extra that we can pull in will go a long way towards ensuring future financial stability.

Jes and I are working on developing multiple revenue streams for this impending marriage of ours and every little bit helps. Some adjunct work may have also opened up at UMSL – live to grade, grade to live – so we’ll see if that pans out early in the coming week. As long as I am pulling round trips everyday I might as well kill myself with a little additional work, right?

I only have a few classes left to teach at the “puppy mill” and want to end on a good note there. I suppose not referring to the institution as a puppy mill might be a good place to start, I’m just still flabbergasted that they would actually lower the per class wage for all their adjuncts. It’s hard to give a year of your life to a company and not take that fiscal insult deeply personally. This has just been my gas money job, I can’t imagine what I’d feel like if I’d given years to a company and then have my monetary worth to them downsized. When TWA tanked we had a number of those walking wounded get retrained at the school I was with then. It makes you question the value of where we have gone as a society. Labor hasn't really had any power to negotiate since the air traffic controller walk out in 1982.

I’ll need to spend tomorrow doing all my prep and grading for them for the week so that my double days aren’t too painful. I am in school in meetings on Mon. & Tues. Wednesday is not a contract day and then I start with students on Thursday. The first two days are “getting to know you” stuff. I won’t really be up and running on lesson plans until the following week.

I’ve been listening to this Fiona Apple CD as I drive around in our new car and there’s a lyric about the arrival of a better version of herself. I feel like a better me is arriving in that now that I once again have the opportunity to embody what has long been a frustrated sense of vocation. I can’t tell you how good it feels to get on with the work that I am best at.


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