Shifting Gears …

Well, I’ve had my rest.  As much as I ever rest.  Last week of classes, launched into marking and today I start a new research project.  And as I prepare yet another application package for a tenure-track position I feel myself hesitating.  I’ve been told by several people that I’m an excellent candidate for this position.  That is no guarantee but is is something.

Yet, I’m reluctant in some ways.  My research for the past 7 years has focused on post-secondary education.  This would mean shifting back to public school research and teacher education.  And although I see a yawning gap in what we know about secondary English practices, I don’t want to lose what I already have.

For now, I am in a holding pattern.  With no teaching positions available locally, I am forging onward with my current research, picking up copy-editing work along the way but focusing on my publications and the new projects I’ve already set in motion.  And yet jobs that would allow me to stay with my current research area are cropping up all over the country.  Newfoundland, Waterloo, Calgary.  But my apron strings have me tied firmly to the stove in Summerland.  Once again I have to chose between my family and my career.  And there really is no choice there.

I wish that we were an adventerous family and could jaunt off across the country in pursuit of new cities, new campuses, new friends.  But we are not.  And so I am waiting and hoping that I didn’t put all the pain and toil into a doctoral degree to end up shelving it and sitting at home baking cookies.  I fear I will emerge in 10 years, alone and resentful.

The optimist that makes up most of my being, says to stay here.  I will end up with the position I’m supposed to fill eventually.  In the meantime, I can carry on doing my research on my own.  But I’m discovering that once the student status (and faculty status) expire on December 31st, it won’t be so easy to do research.  I’ve seen a number of conferences that my recent defense has made me confident about submitting proposals for.  And yet it is not so easy to go to conferences when one does not have funding (meagre as the funding was as a graduate student, I still was able to access funds).  I’m worried about Ethics approval without an institutional affiliation.  And any kind of external funding, such as SSHRC, is unheard of.  Even the old idea of a post-doc seems unrealistic now as I don’t know where I could find a faculty to host me.

But doubts aside, this is really about me longing to finally, finally be settled.  I want to feel I’m home.  And I don’t have that yet.  Perhaps I will need to shift gears slightly.  Explore my research from a differnt angle.  Maybe there is a way to do it that will allow me to expand what I have rather than abandon it.

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