12 Apr

Now what?

I’m coming to the realization that the process of writing may currently be more important than what I actually write down here. Most of my recent ruminations have been about my teaching career and whether or not it’s something I’ll continue. I’ve put lots of thought into it and I’ve even written about it, but because it’s not one of those this-is-an-amusing-thing-that-happened-to-me-today-type things, I haven’t posted here. But such a pattern has resulted in a disappointing two-posts-per-month batting average recently. Even Brian’s beating me.

So I’m going to try to start posting whatever tidbits I can, even if they appear a little mundane at first.

I’m in the midst of deciding whether I’m going to request a part-time teaching schedule for next year or a no-time schedule. No-time would allow me to say “I’m between jobs” at parties, which would be funny. But it would also make Treasurer Storm (aka, my wife) a little grumpy.

Part time would allow me to have a little more time to try to write and submit some manuscripts or to possibly start exploring some real grad school options more seriously. It would also keep me from burning out entirely, which is what I’m headed toward. I like being immersed in intellectual pursuits; it’s inspiring to me. What’s not inspiring are the infrequent parent complaints I get, the equally infrequent discipline problems I have, and the occasionally oppressive load of papers to grade. And I get pissed off at how absurd it is that as an English teacher, I have no time to write or read on my own.

Part time would also earn me some money and benefits, so there’s that.

Anyhow, the post below is a dialogue I had with myself spurred by reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. The book chronicles the clash between Western medecine and Hmong cultural views. It does a pretty good job of illuminating how both sides think they’re right. At points in the book, I found myself siding with the doctors, whose expertise was being completely ignored/brushed aside (something which happens to teachers all the time). But at other times, the doctors were so ethnocentric it was disgusting. And I’ve seen first-hand how much guesswork, incompetence, and error-making goes on in American hospitals. The dialogue was my way of mulling over the balance between ethnocentrism and cultural relativity.