MLA Job Market

The MLA job list continues to suck:

The association’s Job Information List — a proxy for the tenure-track (or otherwise full-time) job market in English and foreign languages — included 851 jobs last year in English, 11 percent (102 jobs) fewer than the year before. The foreign language edition list included 808 jobs, or 12 percent (110 jobs) fewer than the year before.
The declines of the past five years bring the number of total jobs advertised to another new low, according to MLA, below the dip seen between 2007-08 and 2009-10.

The only good strategy for people considering going to grad school in these fields and hoping for a professorial position is 

A. Only go if you get accepted by an Ivy.

B. Remember it’s a gamble and decide in advance when you will get up from the table. I knew I would stop playing the moment I didn’t get a position that had words “Assistant Professor” in it. I wouldn’t be able to gamble away even a year of my life. Other people are in a better situation and can afford one or two years. But you have to be prepared to stop gambling and know in advance when that will be.

Last Two Weeks

The last two weeks of the semester before the finals are my favorite time. All the major teaching, prep, and grading work is done. Now we have entered what I call “the cozy time of year.” 

It’s a priceless moment, from the pedagogical point of view, because I can come together with the students in the relaxed atmosphere of knowing each other well and being able to learn without as much stress and pressure as usual. If it weren’t +20°C here, it’d feel downright Christmas-like.