The Karagöz puppets (and M.) are being extra nice to me today. My tenure hearing is tomorrow – Wednesday – meaning – my interview with my University’s tenure committee, who are the arbiters of whether I have a job teaching for life. It is an archaic tradition, the notion of tenure, and while I am somewhat “agin it,” to use an old bit of Mainer parlance, I’m taking my shot at it anyway, you can go ahead, and call me a hypocrite. So, on Wednesday, I’ll go in, folks will ask me a range of questions on anything possible related to my teaching, scholarship and community service – and then they will decide my fate (though I won’t find out right away what their decision is).
I suppose it is apt, then, that I revisit this bit of writing from Rumi, shared with me 7 years ago as I began my teaching career at my University – it was advice about finding my path, locating my niche – working hard until I felt I could work no more – and then realizing that I would be rising, productive, that it would take flight – with things of interest going on and up, unfolding as the fruits of my labor.
And I did what was asked – writing scads of journal articles, writing a grant proposal that raised a half-million dollars, sitting on umpteen time-sucking committees that, well, did some good stuff despite the pain, and most importantly doing my damnedest to be an interesting and supportive teacher…
For now, here is what Rumi has to say on the matter – of course – he was writing on writing at the time – not on tenure procurement…“But don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth, without complicated explanation, so everyone will understand the passage, We have opened you. Start walking toward Shams (he is referring to Shams of Tabriz, his muse and some argue, his lover). Your legs will get heavy and tired. Then comes a moment of feeling the wings you’ve grown, lifting.”
So, whether the University tenure committee gives me a flying license for the wings I’ve grown or not – I’ll be lifting, one way or the other. Will report back tomorrow with whatever I know!
- Tenure has vital role in higher ed (mysanantonio.com)
- Stories make the world go round – or – where the Karagöz puppets came from (slowly-by-slowly.com)