Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Some crazy stuff going on

I wrote an email to my department head late last week. Essentially, I asked him for a job. Not now, as I won't be available until May 2009. The department has a plan to hire four new faculty members within the next couple years. If I'd waited until then to make my wishes known, the slim chance I have of getting a position at all would likely be long gone. So, I told him now that I'd love to work for the department as an instructor.

I also sent a copy of it to my major professor. I'd spoken with her about it briefly beforehand, of course.

The response was not what I expected. They're both urging me to get my PhD. Now, this is not something I've really wanted or planned to do, for the following reasons:

- I just want to teach
- I don't care about tenure (or do I? read below)
- I don't particularly like research, at least enough to devote MORE time to it on top of my thesis and dissertation
- Publishing is not important to me
- I just want to teach
- If I earned the doctorate, finding basic instructor positions would be next to impossible - why would they hire me? It's the classic overqualified business

By the time I'm done with what I'm doing, I'll be certified to teach middle and high school science (earth science and physics, definitely... might pick up biology as well). With the masters, I can also teach at the college/university level, at least the introductory classes which is what I love to teach. With these goals in mind, the doctorate isn't helpful. In fact, it's more of a hindrance. Why spend that much time and effort to earn something that doesn't get me any further in my plans?


It is very possible that we could retire where we are. Darrell is not that far from retiring, and by the time he's done with this deployment and transfers to a permanent position here, he'll have just enough time left to MAYBE have one more PCS, and even that would only be for a year or eighteen months. So, we could just stay here while he finished up somewhere else, if that's what happens. Now, that's if he only stays in for 20. We've discussed staying in for longer. I'm thinking by that point, he'll be at a rank where he can have more control over his assignments. (Not complete control, we are realists after all and know how the Army works...) Perhaps he could finagle another assignment here rather than PCS somewhere else.

Ok, so then should I work towards the PhD here? Or at least get the coursework done and work on the dissertation later? (Although that's definitely the harder way to do it, but it's been done many a time before.) My department head told me that it'd be easier to hire me on as an instructor if I had the intention to complete the PhD. Then they could complete whatever hiring paperwork is necessary to move me from the instructor position into a tenure-track position. If we end up staying here, I'd absolutely go after tenure. It'd be silly not to.

But do I WANT all that? Hard to say. And for now, it's a moot point anyway. I haven't even started the thesis yet!

I will probably make an appointment to speak with the man who I'd work with if I do it. I'm one of those people that like to know all the options. Maybe it'd make more sense, if I chose to pursue the PhD, to skip the masters and go straight for the doctorate. I'm not sure if this field allows that, although I know geology does. The geology department does not offer a doctorate, although they do have a joint partnership with another school that does. I have no idea how long it's been since someone went that route, but it hasn't happened since I got here in 2002. So, it'd have to be a PhD in education. Do they LET you do that without any classroom experience? Of course I've taught for four years at the college level, and since that's where I intend to stay if all goes well, I'm hoping my experience teaching the labs will count.

Ahh, so much to think about. So, step one:

1) Make an appointment - learn the options
2) Talk it over with Darrell
3) Think about it
4) Think about it
5) Think about it
6) ... at some point, make a decision

Any advice for me? I'm open to just about anything you have to say. All three of you regular readers. :)

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