The Hermit Poet

August 14, 2006

You can’t always get what you want…

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 12:35 pm

It’s a little awkward to be told that “you’re overqualified for this position” and that “you won’t be happy with the pay” — at least they’re being upfront about things.  I mean, you should feel somewhat flattered, right?  But it’s also saying, you’re not really in the right place.
But that’s the problem — where is the right place for a poet / creative writing instructor with some experience but no published book?  Where do you get additional teaching college teaching experience?  And what do you do for the year between acceptance and publication of your book?  Right now I’m not in the latter category, but I’d like to think that I will be eventually.

The head guy made an astute observation — “your passion is teaching and writing poetry, but what most of our students want and need is simple English.  The most complicated writing you’ll teach here will be standard form essays.”  He’s right, I probably won’t be satisfied.  But somehow I’ve got to pay the bills.  “You could spend a month and get yourself an ESL teaching certificate and be making $18/hour somewhere else — but you probably wouldn’t be happy there either.”  Sadly again, that rang a little too true.  I do enjoy mentoring and tutoring, but in all honesty, I prefer to do it in English with people who have a reasonably strong command of the language (graduate students, professionals, etc).

For the record, they offered me a part-time tutoring gig at the place.  The pay is pretty low, but it’s something.  And when you’ve got nothing, something is a whole lot better.

3 Responses to “You can’t always get what you want…”

  1. Lee H. Says:

    You may have already pursued this route, but I assume you have either an MA or an MFA, which should grant you eligibility to teach on a part-time or adjunct basis at the college level, whether it be two-year or four year insitutions. Start there. Because for the most part, nearly any college or university will want some teaching experience before they hire someone on the tenure track. I received tenure about six years ago at a two year college, and I love it (I taught part-time for a few years). Our paths might be a little different, but hopefully this helps a little. I wish you the best, Neil. Cheers.

  2. site admin Says:

    MFA – check.
    Green Card – nope.

    So I’m stuck in Canada for the time being.

    Much of the regular college teaching and adjuncting is closed to me (Canadian colleges and universities typically require at least one published book and many require PhDs), there’s still hope in the Continuing Studies programs at a few of the colleges. Here there’s more interest in the type of classes you can offer and your ability to work with students.

  3. Lee H. Says:

    I hope it goes well…

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