Below are the tweets from this morning’s session. It’s the first time that I’ve been able to return to tweeting since January and the 2013 MLA Convention. I’ve been contemplating raising a child by myself, but I needed to see what I could realistically handle both financially and mentally.
  1. This semester, I tested a theory: worked as if I were a single parent. M-F stopped working at 5pm & started again at 9pm-10pm.
  2. No conference appearances, but 1 paid seminar. No paying for my own travel or conf memberships.
  3. I was raised by a single parent, along with my 2 brothers. Without
    immediate family in the surrounding area, I became the support system to
    help with household chores. It was difficult then at 10 or 11 y.o.
    Knowing how hard it was when I was a kid, I wanted to see what happened
    when I did it for myself.
  4. Results: Not only did I get zero research done but also didn’t handle my teaching load well. No bandwidth for emergencies or extra cmts
  5. So, if I decide, on an unsupplemented salary, to raise a kid by myself, I’m screwed career-wise.
  6. interesting. and, I stressed the *entire* semester abt time & money. and declined new service assignments or pedagogical experiments.
  7. I also tallied exactly how much I’ve self-funded travel, prof memberships, etc: $25k over 8 yrs.
  8. I’m astounded that I’ve spent that kind of money on a job that doesn’t allow for cost of living raise. I don’t make that much to begin with
  9. I came to this job with a significant other. But 5 years ago, we split; then the CSU decided to take 10% of my salary for furloughs. Since then, I’ve struggled with rising cost of living in this area. But, I believed in my students and continued to fund research and travel for myself. (BTW, my salary info is available in an online database, along with all of my colleagues, because we’re state employees. Take a look at the English Department salaries vs. those in Engineering or Business. Astounding the massive discrepancy.)
  10. @ricksva not meant to be sad! just eye opening. I used the blocked off time to take care of immediate family emergencies and to train.
  11. @ricksva But, I will never be able to raise a child by myself. That might be the sad part.
  12. For a variety of reasons, I have always wanted children. I thought I might be able to raise one, just one, on my own. I turn 44 tomorrow. It was time to see if I could really do it.
  13. Over the first 7 yrs at SJSU, I worked anywhere from 80-100 hrs/wk on teaching, research, service. This semester, scaled back to 55/wk
  14. I was overwhelmingly enthusiastic about my job at SJSU. The learning curve was huge; I was a little too strict at first; I thought I was fostering relationships with my colleagues. I gave *everything* to the job. Now, eight years in, I try to be generous with my students and my colleagues. My colleagues sometimes make this difficult, but I try to persevere. I find that I’ve had to continue to protect my career from some politics, which is a big mental drain on my energy and enthusiasm.
  15. Unfortunately, during all of this, a parent’s illness devastated our family. Add to that, the primary caretaker brother is being deployed.
  16. And, so the experiment became real life. Mentally, emotionally, financially, I needed to switch gears to help out. But, my parents live in Texas, so being there is not an option.
  17. Last night, a friend asked if I work hourly wage. We figured out, based on my take-home pay, just how much I get/hr. Sobering.
  18. Though on the surface, it looks like I make a good living, after taxes, mandatory 401k contribution, health insurance, union fees, parking fees, etc., I bring home just $5k more than I did as a grad student living in NYC.
  19. I spend $15600 on rent/yr — and that’s extremely cheap in the Bay Area. 8 yrs in, I’m still struggling like a grad student. Add a kid?
  20. My time, tho, was a huge commodity this semester. I’m being asked to do more with technology but very little support
  21. Using technology in any course requires almost double the effort to write the assignments, create new rubrics, know the technology inside and out, trouble-shoot for students, revise the assignment on the fly, find free and/or open source alternatives, rely on student devices, revise the grading structure, revise again.
  22. I was given oppty to submit grant app but w/only 3 wk notice – on top of others requesting just 1 thing = a mountain. No time = no funding
  23. I also missed the deadline for applying to use our only lab. It’s not necessarily the time to write the application; it’s the need for space to think about what I’m requesting and argue for student success in any of the applications. Also, though I have a national reputation in this field, I’m not really consulted in my department or college about Digital Pedagogy. It’s odd.
  24. Also, the MLA is sending me emails about renewing my membership. If I don’t renew by June, I lose my place on 2 discussion grp committees.
  25. I understand the MLA’s need for membership dues, but I just can’t afford the $100-120 in dues (or is it more for me? I can’t remember).
  26. If I give up those committees, I lose the voice of my kind of institution. So, if I chose to fund a family rather than my career, I’m siloed
  27. I sit on the Bibliography Discussion Group and the Computers & Language Discussion Group. Both are primary fields for me. I also can’t attend the conferences. That’s $2000 out of pocket.
  28. P.S. This isn’t sour grapes at all. It’s been a huge realization & interesting outcomes. I need to make some changes
  29. Some of those changes will include reducing the number of fees taken out of my paycheck. I take home only 3/5 of my salary every month. Where does it go?
  30. With my brother being deployed to, well, let’s just say overseas, all of my time, $$ & extra travel funds that I expended on confererences
  31. need to be saved for traveling to my parents in Texas.
  32. Meanwhile, I have 2 major collaborative projects for which I haven’t had time this semester really bc of the teaching load.
  33. My collaborators have been fabulous but sometimes they need answers more quickly than I can get to them or to schedule meetings when I’ve got students scheduled for meetings 2 or 3 weeks out.
  34. and that book already with a contract is due with revisions on Aug 1. I love this work, but there’s just no time to do it all, or do it well
  35. It’s the not doing it well that’s frustrating. I can muddle through the semester, but I’ve had to cut corners with my students and giving feedback. They need more to be successful. But, I’ve been running my courses like an SLAC. Time to scale up to what we truly are: a large state university with big classes.
  36. My #beardstair students picked up my DIY ethos. We didn’t have resources for things like server space so they spent their own $$
  37. that’s not what I want to pass down to them. They really have enjoyed doing DH this semester, but I’m not sure we can afford DH at SJSU
  38. We need consistent access to a lab for DH on campus. We need to *not* equate DH with MOOCs or hybrid learning.
  39. @ricksva I can storify later, if there’s time. I’m supposed to be grading…this is the allotted time for that.
  40. For those wondering, I have tenure, but no promotion. an uninteresting story, but the ramifications are that I didn’t get a raise 2 yrs ago.
  41. But I am doing the work of a tenured professor. There’s not much budget money for raises above what’s guaranteed for promotion (which I think I’m getting this year?).
  42. And just to be clear, most of the 55 hrs/wk went towards in-class, prep, grading, cmt meetings. 4 courses, 4 preps. 2 comp courses
  43. It’s the 2 comp courses that killed me. They were last minute additions to my schedule when 1 course didn’t make enrollment and the other was taken away from me to give to a senior colleague. My department RTP committee has noted that I don’t do well in this type of situation, but there’s been no official mentoring to help me with the comp courses. We’re so beleaguered with scheduling that not much care is taken to foster relationships and career success in our department. There’s just no time to look at that. Plus, we’re fairly riddled with politics like any other English Department.
  44. On top of this, I still have to be vigilant w/in SJSU, protect my career from those who are careless or disgruntled. Causes mental fatigue
  45. When the tenure stuff happened 2 years ago, I was completely surprised. The stories that leaked out of the committee meeting were also surprising considering who said why — those who I thought I could trust. But, in the end, who knows what happened in there for sure. I’ve moved past it but am aware that I need to have a say in the seemingly insignificant things that could impact my submission for further promotion or my national reputation.
  46. @rogerwhitson Oh, no worries over here. Just continuing to fight to make sure that some colleagues are not allowed to hurt my career.
  47. @rogerwhitson aw, it’s okay. Just means that I’m not funny during cmt meetings 😉
  48. @profwernimont yeah, & it was really difficult to stick to the schedule, especially on weekends when I wanted to clear my head for research
  49. @profwernimont the very real situation with the parents blew the experiment to hell a little while ago. [sigh]
  50. @profwernimont that must be a relief! I’m most concerned about the lack of income, though. Too scary if something happens
  51. @rogerwhitson That’s been fun, but pedagogy is ephemeral if there’s no time to write it up or demo in some way that preserves the moment
  52. @Literature_Geek it’s been revelatory. as an experiment, i’ve been able to distance myself & avoid frustration. can’t imagine a kid too
  53. And, this was all just an experiment. Those actually doing single parenting on a 4/4 low-paying salary, I get it now.
  54. Ok, I’ve used some allotted time for grading on this tweeting story. I’ll try to Storify & post to triproftri blog today.

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