Dipping My Toes into the Waters of Academe

I was conflicted while completing my Ph.D. and haven’t necessarily resolved the issue: how do I live a life as a teacher and as an academic? And, because I hate conflict, I took the easier (?) track of being a classroom teacher rather than a professor.

Some of that decision was easy: I didn’t have many academic leads, and I didn’t really invest a lot of time and energy into finding an academic job. In my mind, becoming an academic meant sacrificing in ways I’m not really willing to do: giving up all joy for seven years to run on a wheel, publish, publish, publish…

My attention span is barely longer than the adolescents I teach at times, so I let those excuses suffice and remained in the classroom. Don’t get me wrong. I love teaching; otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. Seriously.

Now, however, I have the opportunity this year to teach a couple of graduate classes to preservice teachers at a local small, private, liberal arts college and, dare I say, I’m excited?! My excitement manifests itself as planning: lots of lists (with highlighted items to mark importance), notes, bullet points that double as aspirations, multiple revisions upon revisions of a syllabus, running through simulation of classes in the middle of the night (I’m weird like that; don’t judge me).

A completely unexpected reaction, frankly. I thought this decision would be attended by hesitancy, by doubt, but that isn’t the story.

Maybe it’s time for me to think about working the hypen: teacher-academic. I could get used to that…and in the meantime, as I try this on for size, I’ll be working out the daily pressures of theory and practice. How else am I going to be able to talk about (or not talk about) kids and literacy and teaching without commenting on what happened/happens in real time?

We’ll see if it works. If this dip is positive enough, maybe I’ll go wading.

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