I am missing my daughter's chorus concert this evening because I have to teach. If I had tenure (translation: job security/wasn't a contingent professor), I would be tempted to cancel tonight's class. That is not an option. So, instead, I am going to stop at Walmart on my way home and buy her some flowers.
That's one of the most difficult things about being a contingent professor--the constant worry about job performance and evaluation. If I really mess up one semester, I will not get a contract for the next semester. Period. So I don't cancel class. Ever. Even on those Upper Peninsula days when the wind is howling at 50 miles per hour and the snow is coming down thick and sideways, I still show up, ready to teach. Because that's what contingents do.
I'm not complaining. I have chosen this life, this position. I love what I do. However, sometimes, I dream of something a little better. That's what tonight's poem from Rattle is all about: dreaming of something better.
Now, if you will excuse Saint Marty, he has to start writing his Nobel Prize lecture.
Recap of Yesterday's Tenure-Track
Job Interview in English
by: Clint Margrave
They asked me for an adjective
to describe myself as a teacher
and I gave them a noun.
They asked me to roleplay
a situation in which I told a student
she would need to retake the class
and I ended up giving
her a second chance.
Then I asked if the water bottle
provided for me
had vodka in it.
Then I referred to the hiring committee
which consisted entirely of women
as "you guys."