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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Change Is Good

As they say, no hay mal que por bien no venga. The famous stylist I had retired but the young guy I have as my new stylist makes me happier. He’s fast, quiet, not in the least chatty, and doesn’t make a drama out of my “extremely complicated” hair. 

On a similar note, I’m feeling very bored and underchallenged in my job. Post-tenure blues are still here with a vengeance. To get out of the rut, I started learning Basque. And one day I will read Saizarbitoria in his native language. It’s a much easier dream to entertain than ever having a chance to teach him in translation. Because that is completely out of my control, and we all know how much I detest not being in control. 

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7 thoughts on “Change Is Good

  1. DWeird on said:

    I know how you feel about unpaid labour, but are there any student groups in your university that’re into learning things off-syllabus?

    When I was a student, I got together a group of like four-six people who’d teach each other about things they themselves had just barely learned but were enthusiastic about. It was messy, sometimes awkward, but fun. Eventually, we started inviting professors and more people started showing, and it become more like an unofficial lecture series.

    These things are small enough to easily go under one’s radar, so maybe something like that is already happening in a nascent form somewhere close by and just needs a little nudge?

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  2. Evelina Anville on said:

    How come you can’t imagine teaching Saizarbitoria in translation?

    I ask because one way I did get out of the “post tenure blues” was completely changing up my teaching: started teaching increasingly difficult books (I teach Joyce’s Ulysses and the students like it!), invented a new class, completely revamped my approach to grading, etc. etc. It really helped. 🙂

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    • I can’t teach anything that isn’t short form or doesn’t have an expired copyright. I haven’t taught a novel ever at this school and I never will. Which is really funny given that my research is overwhelmingly novels.

      Our students don’t buy their own books. And the University doesn’t buy any books that I can’t guarantee I will teach at least once a year for 6 years.

      I can’t invent any new classes either. I’m teaching two sections of beginners Spanish and one of advanced Spanish grammar next semester.

      I don’t mean to whine but that’s just how it is. I’ve accepted it all cheerfully until now but it does get to me because I think I have more to offer than “I am, you are, he is.”

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      • Evelina Anville on said:

        Your students don’t buy their own books? The university gives them books? That’s astonishing!……………….And is that your schedule every semester?

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        • Yep. This is one of our main selling points: no book costs. It’s great for the students’ pockets but it’s extremely limiting for teaching. I just happen to specialize in modern and contemporary, and everything is under copyright, so I can’t say, “go read it online.”

          I get to teach one literature course of my choosing every two years. And one literature survey once every two years. For the survey we have a textbook. And for the literature course I always end up choosing the short form.

          Now you understand why I’m so exasperated with colleagues who open up more and more language courses. Soon even this single lit course in two years will be crowded out by conversation courses and community engagement courses.

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