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teaching

IMG_0128In 2014, one of my goals is to update this blog on a semi-regular basis (every week? Every two weeks? We’ll see how it goes). I’m starting here by outlining some topics that I hope to cover with the help of guest bloggers in the next few months.

Part of this effort will involve expanding our guest bloggers to include anonymous writers, so that we can try to cover some of these issues with greater honesty. Many people have approached me to say that they want to write something, but have said they are afraid to speak their truths online. I hope that this blog will provide these important voices with some writing space soon. (If you haven’t contacted me yet with an idea because you have been hesitating to put your name on something, I hope that you will take this as an open invitation!).

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baxterBy Andrea Terry
Department of Visual Arts, Lakehead
University

I’ve spent the last four years doing contract and sessional teaching gigs. When colleagues, friends or family ask me where I’m based, I self-identify as an itinerant academic and then explain that I’m currently at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Eyes light up at this response, and they lean forward intrigued, looking to hear more, and so I go on to explain where my teaching has taken me. I won’t lie – it’s not an easy career path, particularly at this stage. But then I look back and consider all the benefits I’ve reaped in the past four years, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing.

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StanzilitBy Janet Mullin
Departments of History at the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, Fredericton, Canada

There’s an urban myth out there that says part-time academics (aka “lecturers”, “adjuncts”, &c) aren’t really professors, because they aren’t required to do research.  If it ain’t in the job description, it ain’t happening.  Part-timers are a) too busy teaching b) working at other jobs to keep a roof over their heads c) not interested in doing something for which they won’t be paid.

Right.

As most of us already know, that’s not even close to true.  Sure, we part-timers may have to put more emphasis on our teaching – that’s what’s bringing in the bacon, after all – but even course-prep writing is still writing.  Besides, there’s nothing like doing lots of writing for undergrads to make you itch to get back to the crafting of sentences, the building of arguments, that got you that PhD in the first place.  Most of my lecture notes are peppered with crossed-out clever phrases and erudite references that have bombed in the classroom.  The only way I’ll get to use them is to write for other academics.

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Image

I’ve commented already on the goals I have for this blog, but I’d also like to reflect a little on my inspiration for it. I was very lucky to work with three fantastic women as graduate students during my first few years of teaching. All have since finished their MAs with me and have gone on to either doctoral programs or law school. They were all a joy to work with and I learned so much from each one of them. I know they are already doing amazing things with their lives and I look forward to seeing where they end up in a few years.

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