Monday, April 24, 2006

Undecided

I’m looking for input on this, so feel free to post anything in response.

Basically, I’m undecided about what I should do next semester (Fall 2006). By the end of June, I will have to take either two or three classes to finish my Masters degree. I had thought about taking a year off and going overseas to teach somewhere, then coming back here for a semester. If I did this, I could get three credits as a practicum, but I would still have to come back to Salisbury to take the last required class. I don’t think there is any way to get out of taking the class here (I don’t think I could do it as an independent study—but that is something that I need to talk to some profs about, I think).

The good parts of this plan are:
It would get me out of Salisbury!
I would actually be teaching. (I’ve been tutoring English for almost five years now. I’m ready to work with an actual class.)
I would probably be in a place where I could make friends. (Or at least I might have something in common with the people around me).
I’m tired of school. Kind of.

The bad parts of this plan are:
I would have to come back to Salisbury.
I would delay getting my degree by one year.
I would have to come back to Salisbury.
My favorite prof. will be taking a semester break when I comeback—if she hasn’t found a job in another university by then!

On the other hand, I may be able to take the last class (a methods class) at another university and have the credit transferred in. So I could conceivably, after a year of teaching, come back to the states, find a teaching job somewhere, take a methods class at a neighboring university, and then be done with the degree. But I would probably have to work as an adjunct, which would mean no rights, no benefits. (But then, when have I ever worked at a job in which I had both rights and benefits?) But then, even with a Masters, there is no guarantee that I would be able to find a non-adjunct job. But there is no guarantee that, in a year, the TESOL program at Salisbury would be willing to work with me to transfer a class in (so far the English department has been less than cooperative).

Here is what I’m thinking:
I will stay here one more semester if I can teach a class—either as a graduate assistant or… well, whatever. Both of the TESOL profs here have suggested to me that I teach the ESL composition class in the Fall. I can’t see that the English department would really go for that, though.
I will not stay here if I have to put in another semester at the writing center. I don’t mind working with the students, but this place is driving me nuts.

I just feel so isolated here—it is really, really hard to convince myself to stay for another half a year. I have no friends here. Granted, I’m not exactly the friendliest person in the world, but how can I, after a year, not have made any friends? Salisbury is stifling and the people here are cold. This has not been a positive experience at all. I, ever since high school, was looking forward to being in graduate school. I had been told that that was where I would really blossom. Ha! I think I’ve been buried under too much shit here to flower properly.

So, comments? Suggestions? Thoughts?

12 Comments:

At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

Initial reaction: You weren't joining a sorority, you were going to grad school. (Anna-logic's meaning: You haven't been paying Salisbury [er, and/or being paid thereby] for the social aspect of it.)

Secondary reaction, immediately following the first: My cousin was in a Masters' program. She burned out. She later said that the morning after she decided to resign from the program was the most refreshing/relieved/etc she'd felt in years.

Is the "Salisbury Sourness" nonstop and getting deeper, like a plow that started by just skimming the dirt but gets so mired down that you can't move it... or is it hit-and-miss, like a skipping stone hits the water sometimes but stays airborne for most of the trip?

I'm being absolutely no help, but I hope you figure out what'll work best for (*cough*) YOU. :)

I'm big on happy mediums. Keep us posted how it goes regarding teaching then taking the last class elsewhere.

Good luck! Viel glueck! Bueno suerte! Bonne chance! Buona fortuna!

(Ok, I cheated. I had the English, Spanish, and German...but then I went to Babelfish to confirm spelling for the German, and ya know... it was right there.... so....)

 
At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

That might've come across as assholish... 'twasn't meant so.
I can understand the frustration, lady.
Good luck, again. :)

Come to the beach in July!

 
At 6:51 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

I see your point about the social aspects. I certainly did not come to Salisbury to go to parties and get laid.

On the other hand, I think that when one goes to grad school, one should expect to find a community of peers--people who are studying the same things and who have the same or similar goals. In fact, this is probably a crucial part of grad. school: the ability to converse with peers and bounce around ideas.

This has not been the case at Salisbury. As far as I can tell, I'm the only person getting a Masters in TESOL. I feel somewhat cheated about this. I did ask, before I came, if there were other grad students in TESOL and was told that there were.

There is also no graduate students association on campus. Basically, there is no recognition of the presence of grad students. Then again, I may be theo nly grad student.


---
Another good reason to stay:
I can finish learning the Tai Chi form.

 
At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't ask for my opinion, but I'll give it anyway:

Finish. I know it's a drag, but get it done. Don't work at SU--between Dad & me, we can cover your tuition for one semester (after all, you'll be part-time!).

You have no guarantee that SU will accept a methodology class from another university. I would not trust anybody verbally attests that it would be accepted.

You might contact the community college & see if THEY would give you a class to teach as an adjunct.

Besides, I'd miss you....

Mom

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Also, there is the fact that there is no guarantee that the courses I need to graduate will actually run in the Fall. Yes, they are listed, but I've seen it happen before where necessary classes are dropped because not enough people sign up. I will be throughly pissed if I decide to stay and then the classes I need are not offered.

Thanks, Mom, for posting. And I did ask your opinion--I asked for everyone's opinions. : )

Anyway, right now it is looking like I'm just going to stick it out for another semester.

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger STAG said...

You don't need a large group to feel that you belong. But you must find that group. That will make you feel better about spending time there. You cannot expect to find happiness and fulfillment in your work alone. You need balance. Tai Chi, pickup basketball, double reed jamming in the quad, rumpled sheets. You need all of that to make your time anyplace worth while. Salisbury has its good points. For one thing, you KNOW where the Tai Chi instructor is....

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Captain Disgruntled said...

I think you've got so much already invested that it makes the most sense to just gut it out. I agree with both Stag and your mum--plainly, SU is not a magical fit for you, so it sounds like a good idea to check at a community college to find a class to teach.
Bag teaching/working at SU as much as you can for your final semester--find either a teaching or non-teaching job someplace else.
And look elsewhere for that connection that's lacking.
Yeah, it looks like we need to get you out of there, but I think you should really try to finish getting out of there without the obligation to come back.

 
At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm one to talk here . . . but, get it over with! Once you leave, it is SO much harder to finish. I kind of wish I'd just stuck it out and finished my thesis before I started working, in some ways.

I had the same problem at UMBC. You were there, of course, but I had NO friends in my program at all. Heck - I was the only one who even spoke English most of the time. It was definitely not a good fit for me, and I was unbelieveably happy when I finished up the coursework.

So, my advice - find something to do besides working on campus, even if it's checking groceries. Maybe you'll be able to find friends there. Aside from that, stick around and get the darned thing done!

Shari

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger STAG said...

And boy oh boy, you HAVE traveled to a lot more places than I ever have! That is a very cool map!!

For purely selfish reasons, I hope you get a job teaching at the local CJep (French Community College) here in Ottawa. But you can do better.

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Stag -- French Community College? Ooohhhh, tell me more! Would I, for example, have to be able to speak French? That actually sounds like an interesting job...

Anyway, I went to talk to one of the TESOL profs about teaching the freshman comp ESL section. She had mentioned to me (several weeks ago) that she had recommended me to the English chair to teach this class. So now I'm going to talk to the chair about possible teaching it in the Fall. I doubt that the chair will want me to teach it, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

The local community college doesn't offer a lot of ESL classes, so there wouldn't be any teaching opportunities there. I might check Delaware--see if there is anything up there. I know that Montgomery CC (north of DC) is looking for an adjunct ESL teacher. It would be a bit of a commute, but it might be worth checking out.

Hell, I could always go to someplace like Sylvan and see if I could work there for awhile.

Meanwhile, I really need to find summer employment. I really, really, really suck at finding jobs. I can't even get hired at Target! I suppose I could go waitress at Ocean City, but I'm afraid I'd be too flighty to be a good waitress.

 
At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

I like all the other advice better'n mine. :)

Be well...
Teach well...
Farethee welll.....

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger STAG said...

Dave probably needs you at the Maryland Ren Fest. I am not even sure if MY festival is running this year! So I can't offer you a job here. Only a place to crash.

 

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