Sunday, April 22, 2012


On my other blog, I commented last week about it being the end of the term where I teach.  I also mentioned there that I am on leave for the summer, something which has not happened in my adult life before; this is the first time that I am taking advantage of one of the things that gets trotted out to justify paying educators at lower rates than they really ought to get.*

I am not spending the time wholly idly.  I have a paper in the works right now, and I have others that I would like to get going (once I get done with the one I have in draft at the moment).  Also, I have additional reading to do; that seems to always be the case, even if I feel like I am not doing enough of it.

In addition, I will be doing a fair bit of traveling.  I am bound for Lafayette, Louisiana; Kerrville, Texas; and Tama, Iowa, where I will participate in commencement exercises and visit family.  I will also be heading to the United Kingdom to attend a two-week program in medieval studies at the University of Cambridge--around which I will do some lovely touristy things, since I will be in a position to do so.

I worry about taking the time off, however.  My most beloved wife and I have discussed the issue at length, and while we are reasonably confident in our finances, and she urges me to take the time to spend with family and study abroad, I remain somewhat hesitant.  Make no mistake; I am eager to go, to see, to do, but there is something in me, something born of the socio-economic background from which I hail, that tries to give me pause.

Tries, because I have already bought the airline tickets and booked lodgings.

There have been a few comments made to me that have reawakened a worry that I had thought my wife and I had managed to put aside.  I am not entirely happy to have had it brought back up to me that my taking a term off and traveling for a month at a time is at odds with my upbringing; my wife and I both come from families that very much embody the traditional Protestant work ethic, families that have had to work hard and long to remain in positions of relative security--and which have had problems at times despite the many, many hours they have put in.

It is in part because I have seen such hard-working folks as my folks suffer that my politics incline the way that they do.  There are times when hard work is not enough--something that the "Christian" populations among which I spent my youth ought to keep in mind.  But that is aside from my central point.

Said point is this: I am still adjusting to being in the many positions I occupy, and the shift is not entirely comfortable.  I suppose that as complaints go, however, it is a good one to have to have.

*In most places.  I am aware that there are parts of the US (and I restrict my discussion to it for reasons I have discussed elsewhere, such as here and here) where teachers are appropriately--or even excessively--paid.  But they are not many.

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