End of an era?
On 30 September 2016 I retired form my post as senior lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Salford. I’m 64. 65 is the normal retiring age for academics, though this isn’t necessarily enforced. My husband intends to retire at the end of March. I thought it neater to retire at the end of an academic year. Leaving on 30 September allowed me to complete the year, attend graduation, oversee clearing, oversee resits, supervise and mark some Masters’ projects and complete the leave year so that there would be no dispute over how much leave I should take. In fact I took most of it in September, returning to tidy up and mark the Masters’ projects.
After a major career change at 55, I’ve had a ball. However, it was high time to make room for younger colleagues, get back to my own writing and ensure that some minor health considerations don’t change into something major. I’m pleased to say I’ve been replaced by another full-time colleague who is also a writer of fiction.
Those who can’t teach?
Just not true. You have to be able to do “it” i.e. write, in order to be able to teach it and there’s almost an argument that you should teach if you can “do” so that you pass on your skills and knowledge to the next generation. However, I’ve been allowed to write what is less commercial and not had to worry because I’ve had little time to market my work as I’ve received a decent salary. I’ve certainly earned from my writing in that sense.
A different form of teaching
I’m involved in editing for several publishing houses and in a sense that is a form of teaching. My teaching anyway at the university involved quite a bit of marking, critiquing and workshopping all of which are very much like editing. I’m also a member of a SCBWI critique group. I amused one of my students once by inviting her to join us.
“How does that work?” she asked. “Oh,” she said after I’d explained. “You mean it works just the same way as Final Portfolio?”
Mmm. I could see her thinking that this sad woman replicates her day job at the weekend. Ah, but you see, that is the beauty of having a day job that you’d do even if you weren’t paid –as long as you didn’t need the money.
Going back anyway
Yes, I’m going back for the second trimester to teach for 160 hours. This means that I’ll be at the University for most of the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays for twelve weeks of the semester and will pick up 183 scripts to mark. Aha. Yet I’m looking forward to this. It will just be teaching without any other aspects of the job. I hope by then I’ll have lifted my profile as a writer a little further.
I’m certainly carrying on with school visits. I suspect at some point I might do something with the University of the Third Age. I can also see me running on-line courses and offering full day master-classes. However, I’m not going to rush into this. I’ll just see what happens. I’m very open to suggestions, so do feel free to make them ….
I look forward to hearing from you.