Four years into my full-time employment at Eastfield College, I’ve come to realize that I may be at this college for a very long time.
It’s this semester that did it. Besides having signed my first renewal three-year contract last year (the closest to “tenure” that my college — as well as the other sister colleges in the District — has), I’ve become — this is not bragging — indispensable.
After a six-year haitus, the college’s participation in a District-wide, and subsequently nation-wide, student literary contest has come back this semester, thanks to my division’s new dean appointing me the Campus Coordinator of the local contest. Between putting together the contest,coordinating the judging, securing grant-funding for the prize pool, forwarding the winners to the District-level Contest Coodinator, publishing the winners in a literary journal, and arranging and (next Thursday, on my birthday) hosting the Award Ceremony —
— breathe —
this student literary contest could very well die out AGAIN if I wasn’t at its helm.
The last person who did it was still doing it until she retired, in 2004, after serving 30-plus years with the college. No one picked up the baton because when she retired (and, not too many years after, died), she took all of the “how-to” and other contest materials with her.
So I’ve had to pretty much reinvent the wheel. And, BOY, did my students ever so much appreciate that: “Sorry, everybody, I’m behind on grading again,” has become almost a mantra this semester — to my continuing frustration and, to preserve my sanity, reasonable resignation.
In addition to those duties (the teaching and the contest coordinating), I find myself not only planning Asian/ Asian-American/ Middle-Eastern events on campus (because I’m on a planning committee), but also participating in them (because, well, I’m Asian). Case in point: This Thursday, I will be co-emceeing a pan-Asian fashion show at the college, in addition to manning (and perhaps presenting) my father’s personal effects when he was a Navy man, stationed in Taipei, Taiwan, in the 1970s.
Exactly a week after the literary contest award ceremony, I will be on a panel, discussing what it means to be growing up Asian in Texas — an experience I know all too well, having lived in the DFW metroplex since I was ten.
And, beginning in Fall 2010, I’m teaching my World Lit II class as an “Asian/Middle-Eastern emphasis” class, to help promote the still-nascent Asian-American/ Middle-Eastern American Studies program that my fellow English faculty member has been coordinating for the past couple of years.
Thanks to a couple of pedagogical sessions over the graphic novel that I took at the Sigma Tau Delta/ Sigma Kappa Delta convention over Spring Break (which I attended in the capacity of faculty sponsor of the three student members of SKD from Eastfield), I’ve decided that the focus novel for my lit class will be Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, and the class will watch the movie version as well.
It should be fun — I hope. This is the first time in over four years that I’ve changed the format of my World Lit II class, and I know that, come Summer Break time, I will be a very busy professor, reading and redesigning my course.
Let’s not even go into too much my role of pretty much single-handedly creating the student resource guide for the Common Book project for the entire campus this semester. Between that and designating all of my Composition I and II classes as “Common Book emphasis” classes, I’m hoping that my duties towards that planning committee will lighten, hopefully a lot. I’m more than happy to pass the “Student Resource Guru” baton to someone else in the committee.
After all, my primary responsibility is to TEACH, which includes grading.
Oy vey — one of these days, I’ll catch up on grading this semester’s essays… like, when the semester is over :p
Good thing my students, on the whole, enjoy my classes… which is the number one reason why I guess I’ll be here at Eastfield for quite awhile.
And in this still-rickety economy, it’s always nice to get paid!