Sunday, June 26, 2005


I've been an absolute stress case all day - my stomach is tied up in knots about the teacher workshop (starts tomorrow!). I didn't want to come into school today, but finally had to this evening to redo a graph that needed to be printed on 11x17. But first I had to turn around and go home and get my office keys (stupid rental car). Stress begets stress. At the moment my mind is starting to relax a little (listening to some emmylou harris), but my heart is racing from just reading through some of the agonizing emails that have flown into my inbox this week.

I think I would be stressed enough about teaching this stuff even if it weren't for the personality conflict at play here. Thankfully, I am realizing that when I teach my college class, I will be the final arbiter of teaching decisions and I will not have 2+ science education experts breathing down my neck and critiquing my every word (or lack thereof).

Apparently, my decision not to send a hasty email back to the education PI (who actually isn't a PI) was the wrong one. Then she got steamed about my lack of response and has made some other hurtful comments about me....principally implying that my lack of teaching experience is a disaster. That leads me to two comments: The first is the perennial catch-22: how is one supposed to get experience if every job requires it? The second: I wasn't asked about my teaching experience when I was recruited. If it was such a major requirement, then the person who hired me should have bothered to ask.

Here's a snippet from the science PI to the ed non-PI re: my lack of response to the nasty email.
"I think the tone was so strong that it rather puts off a response. No response may *be* the response, although entirely unrelated to the content of the conversation which may get lost in the taken-abackness regarding the tone. See, an aggressive tone does not invite dialogue. It invites defensiveness. This is a hard lesson that I have learned over the past 20 years, that women (in particular) get shut down when I simply do my hardball Q&A that doesn't really reflect anything except my intense interest in the question at hand, but comes across as The Hostile Prosecutor."
There are so many levels from which to look at this issue. For example, how different would our dynamics be if one of us were a man, instead of it all being between women?

Right now, I'm really deeply appreciating the science PI sticking up for me. We'll just have to see how the week goes. Keep me in your prayers.


Writer Chica said...

Letting you know I'm thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Anne! Good luck on your first day of teaching! From the sound of it, though, you have nothing to worry about as far as the students are concerned, but the "non-science PI" (aka mean shrew-face) might be a bit tricky. Just remember that you are smart, you are logical, you are doing the job you were hired to do. You KNOW this stuff and you can definitely teach it to some eager (ok, sober will do) undergrads! Take care and good luck! :)Lee