I teach math at Texas State University. My official title is “Lecturer” which is an adjunct position. I do have to say that the math department at least pays its adjuncts fairly livable salaries (although it’s not great by any stretch of the imagination), and we are all guaranteed a full load, which is more than my colleagues in most other departments can say.
I got my MS in Math from Texas State in 2007. I also got married right at the same time. I was offered the lecturer job, and originally planned to teach for one year while I figured out which PhD program (in math ed) I wanted to apply to. At that time, my husband was getting several calls from headhunters every week, so we felt confident in our ability to move anywhere in the country. But then 2008 came, and the economy broke, and we couldn’t really justify moving and leaving his really excellent job just then. And now it’s 2013, and we have a baby (a delightful one!) and I’m starting to think about my career in a wistful kind of way.
I have some serious frustrations with my current working situation. Class sizes and lack of advance notice of what classes I’ll be teaching are the main problems. Of course, since I only have a master’s degree, I’m very limited as to where I can teach in higher ed, and those problems will probably exist anyplace that would hire me without a doctorate. And so I’m seriously considering several questions:
- Do I want to continue teaching in higher ed?
- Do I want to put in the time and energy for a PhD? The money?
- Do I want to to do research? What kind and how much?
- What is my ideal working environment? What would it take to get that?
I’m gearing up for the semester now, but these thoughts have been bouncing around my head all summer. For most of the summer (and previously in the spring), I’ve been shifting around on the pessimistic end of the scale on how I feel about the future of higher education in this county (de-funding, hyper-focus on job preparation, framing education as simply the acquisition of facts), but the technology integration workshop I attended really put me in a more optimistic place.
More on that later…