Musings about academe in haphazard fashion.
This is where I am now–in a classroom or on a computer or grading papers.
I’m having an academic mid-life crisis today as I am extremely unhappy with what I am not doing right now and what I have been unable to do for years, which is getting back to Latin America, back to research, and back to what sparked my interest in higher education in the first place. I am feeling very bored and unproductive, overworked with service requirements that are supposed to only be 10% of my paid position at the expense of any possibility of research. How does one get back into being a researcher when the research has gone cold, when one is a Latinamericanist who has no one with whom to converse in Spanish, when for reasons of family, travel cost, and new anxieties, one cannot find a way to travel? For nearly 10 years I have taught 4 classes a semester at two separate institutions. At times, my course load was a 4 prep, and currently it is 3; I have found it impossible given the teaching load, service load, and my own family obligations with small children and being the primary caregiver, to maintain any research potential. But, the catch 22 is that if I cannot demonstrate my viability as a researcher, I cannot hope to obtain a reduced course load. But, without a reduced course load, I cannot hope to again regain my status as a researcher. The newest hire in my department this month is coming in at a 2:2, whereas those of us at Associate or Full are still at a 4:4 with no clear timetable of change in sight from the teaching university of Augusta State to the consolidated research university of Georgia Regents that is now legally 1 year old. Having only one chapter and one article in the past 10 years has made me a joke in my field, which is a bitter pill to swallow. And applying for a grant to reduce a single class and reapplying each semester for that honor is not going to work for me. The reduction of 3 hours in the classroom does not equal a research environment for how I do work. I need a sabbatical. I need one badly. But, after all these years I feel like a stranger embarking on a journey into a strange land. The spontaneous nature of my 20’s has evolved into anxiety in my 40’s. I want to be in Latin America, but I might have to change directions and study Latin America from a new perspective, one closer to Augusta for the realities of my status of class, gender, marital status, and more. I think I’m going to…nevermind, I’ll make it a surprise!