Even though I've been teaching for the past three years, for the most part I think of myself as a stay-at-home mom. I've tried to do my teaching duties (grading, writing lectures, more grading) when the kids are at school or when they're in bed. I've tried, but in that I've failed. I've been more of a work-at-home mom, and quite honestly, I don't think its working out for the girls.
This is a big problem, or rather, a big conflict of interest. I like what I do, and its always been important to me to make sure my lectures are polished. That takes time, a lot of time, and slowly but surely I've been finding more and more of that time during the day when I'm supposed to be taking care of the girls. Instead of spending time together, Nora and Emily have been amusing themselves in the playroom. While this isn't bad once in a while, it became all too often when I was teaching three classes. I hate the phrase, "Not now girls, I'm busy on the computer". Worse is the whiny, "I'm Workingggggg"
At the end of last semester, I realized I'd given up all of my time with the girls and I wasn't even happy with the online course I'd developed. Something had to change. The writing was really on the wall when, as the spring semester approached, most of my classes were empty. Why I was surprised at this foreseeable development is still a mystery to me; my spring enrollments are always low. That is what I get for teaching at weird, off the wall times (evenings and weekends). However, its that or not teach at all. The pay is so measly for what I do, and there's no guaranteeing a class will run, so finding suitable daycare options for the girls is impossible. Its not uncommon for me to have less than 48 hours notice if I am working or not; how can anyone line up quality care for their kids in 48 hours? And certainly its not fair to find someone willing to watch the girls only to fire them before they begin. Not my style!
Let's review...when I teach my kids are neglected. When I teach, I never know when or for how long my gig will last, so I can't give the girls any kind of predictability, something Emily needs in order to keep talking. When I teach, I don't make a lot of money, but it helps. When I don't teach, my poor husband worries about paying the bills. Oh yeah, and if I'm teaching, its always during cheap airfare season so we never ever get to go anywhere. (Feel free to read that as a whine).
Seriously, is it any surprise I went looking for jobs that were not adjunct teaching??
Anyways, I'm pleased to announce I was hired by my alma mater, and I begin a sweet, part-time gig next month. I'll be working in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies 3 days a week. It pays enough for me to hire someone to watch Emily in the afternoons, and Nora will be able to go to school full time. I will interact with a lot of foreign students and staff, and will get a thorough education in the behind-the-scenes aspects of study abroad, something I've wanted to do for years. Best part? I can still teach one ART 100 class a semester, but if I don't teach, its no big deal. (And maybe we could actually go somewhere??)
This new job is a 2 year post. At the end of the 2 years, Emily will be in kindergarten, and I can decide at that point what will come next for me and our family. Will I pursue my academic dreams or become a hippie? Go back to school for an Ed.D or landscape design? Maybe Ryan and I will start a non-profit charity. Maybe we'll run off to Italy...I hear they're our greatest European ally at the moment. We could teach English while the girls learn italiano. Or stay put, because I like being an office assistant! Who knows where this journey will take us. Its always exciting to start something new.