Why Smarty Skirt?
I'm starting this blog to explore the question “What does a “smarty skirt” teacher do when she can't teach?”
I'm on the faculty at several Bay Area commnity colleges. I love to teach, but it's a bad time to be an educator. As it is, in order to make ends meet, I'm what is called a “freeway flier,” sometimes driving up to 180 miles a day between schools.
Why do I teach community college and not at a University? I actually want to. No seriously. I went to community college. My parents helped all they could but there wasn't a ton of money to send me off to any school I chose. I stayed close to home, worked, saved and went to community college.
As a geeky “smarty skirt,” I fell in love with school. The teachers were passionate, the classes were great and the distractions of dorm life were non existent (not to say that I didn't appreciate those distractions when I did transfer to a 4 year school).
I love teaching community college because I know who these kids are. I was one of those kids. I'm also contantly impressed by the “returning” students (retirees, single moms, ex-military guys and the like) who bring their life experiences into the classroom and mix things up. My favorite moments during the day are the “lightbulb” moments I get to witness when a student makes a connection to the material, when they “get it.”
I'll teach as long as I can. I really can't imagine what else I would do. Although on my road to academia I've done a lot of things (my friends like to joke that I've done everything). The schools budgets are getting slashed, my course assignments are dwindling rapidly and my love for the position isn't going to pay the rent. So... what does a girl with a Masters in Humanities do if she can't teach?