Sunday, October 10, 2010

along the cherry lane

The music played at the laundromat I go to is eclectic. Today, for example, I heard Puff the Magic Dragon, followed by Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, followed by Bohemian Rhapsody, followed by an old version of Ray Charles' I Can't Stop Loving You. Hence the post title.

I went sailing again yesterday. I enjoyed it, but the dynamics were different, because the other "crew" and the instructor were different -- and there were more "crew." I didn't get the level of hands-on this time, and the instructor -- while good enough -- wasn't so much instructive as just giving everyone a chance at the tiller. Which isn't really sailing, if you know anything about it.

I'm really going to have to try to save up money to take some serious, and private, lessons to satisfy my desire to learn. I really do like being out there on the water. This sailing thing can be murder on the body, though. I am sporting a huge dark blue/purple bruise over the entire middle of my back left thigh that is sure to cause questions at the pool Wednesday. I got it when I was up helping with the larger front sail, and we hit a wake. It tossed me down on a spot with some metal brackets that hit me squarely at the back of my leg. And I didn't want anyone to see I'd been hurt, so I sucked it up and just gave a surreptitious rub when no one was looking. And the calf muscle on the same leg is very tender from stretching to brace my freakishly short legs on the opposite side of the boat when we were heeling.

The crew were two tourists from Italy who were in the city for a few weeks. They were pleasant, and nice to talk to. The other was a man who had moved to NYC with his wife about three months ago. I spoke with him for a couple of minutes when he was sitting next to me. He and his wife came here to teach at NYU and live in faculty housing, so they're getting a hell of a financial break on living expenses. Believe it or not, he is an astrophysicist; his wife is a legal instructor (instructor in higher ed lingo means she either she's in a non-tenure track position, or she doesn't possess the terminal degree necessary to be an assistant professor).

If you are familiar with higher ed hierarchy, you know that teaching at the ivy leagues are considered top of the line. Then (in general -- there are a few exceptions) come other private universities, public universities, and then community colleges (yes, I'm leaving out proprietary colleges). Those of us teaching at CCs are widely disregarded (and very often viewed with outright disdain) by those in the upper echelons of higher ed. So of course, when I mentioned I taught at a CC, he did what they all do and turned his attention elsewhere very quickly. I was snubbed, as I knew I would be. But I wouldn't let him get away with it, and I regaled him with exactly what we have to do at our CC for tenure, and that we do it while teaching a 5-4 load (he probably teaches a 2-1 load at NYC). I think I impressed him a bit -- but he still snubbed me.

Speaking about work, I have been chronically behind in grading work and getting it back to the students. I am so tired after the week of teaching, meetings, pool and gym, that I wind up sleeping most of the weekend. I'm getting further and further behind, and then of course I get stressed, because the students need to get regular feedback. The longest I've been at any job is five years, and I'm in my fourth year at this job. Of course, since I'm aiming for tenure, this is supposed to be a long-term job. I knew it going in, and I knew I was taking a risk in whether I could last at a job long-term. I really, really love being in the classroom, but there are parts of this job that are wearing me down, and I'm afraid of not being able to go the distance. And what would I do with myself if I couldn't make it in this?