Friday, January 18, 2008

Here we go, always with the too much of the information

I may have just created negative consequence for myself. For the past 2 summers, I have taught a summer intensive as part of an enrichment program for high school students. It's only a month long and classes are in the am, so it fits in well with other activities. Until this summer, possibly. For reasons unknown this morning I was trying to figure out my summer employment. I'd like to request a teaching assistantship in my department for this summer. I have seniority and am trying to finish up my thesis, which are usually the requirements to get this position. Unfortunately, the term which I would request overlaps with the last week of the high school program. I talked to my boss who oversees the labs and TA's to find out the requirements. Turns out, with the sections on the schedule right now, I would have one morning class so no, I could not do both.

Thing is, I could have just asked about the scheduling and teaching load, and have all the information I need. But, me being me, I had to go and explain and explicitly state that I would be trying to do both. I have a pretty good rapport with my boss and don't entirely think this would go against me. And it might not. But then she asked if I had to pick, which one would I pick, and when I honestly answered that it depended on money...

then I remembered, too late, that that could be used against me. A lot of people request a summer TA and they might not want to give one to someone who is enetertaining other options. And I think employers don't like to think of their employees working other jobs because of the possibility of shoddy work. At least I knew enough to point out that I wanted to teach at high school program because I already have all the lesson plans and it would be easy. I know I could easily handle both; the overlap is only for a week.

Another grad student in the department lost funding last fall for being too honest. She told the chair that she was interviewing for outside jobs, and he used that as a reason- "due to your job prospects"- to give her TA to a new incoming student. Is this the same kind of thing? I guess one difference is that this is so far in advance. It's not even time to request TA's yet, so I can still request a TA and make it clear that that it is my preference. And, there's a chance they will add sections, which would make it possible for me to do both because I maybe wouldn't have that one am class to teach on the lab side. And, the other grad student in mention had also dropped some balls the previous year, so there might have been another logic at hand.

Still, I could have avoided all the worry if I had just answered "Oh, of course I would rather work here..." Which, actually is true.

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