Thursday, August 29, 2013

Background: Employment

Last Weight In: Friday, 23 August 2013
Weight Information -
      Weight: 451.8 lbs
      Weight Change This Week: -1.4 lbs
      Weight Change To Date: -1.4 lbs
      Weight Gauge: Haohaohaouch (To quote MBWM)

Current Goals -
     Number Goal: 430 lbs
     Distance to Goal: 21.8 lbs
     Feel Good Goal: Relax
     Distance to Goal: Long range sensors report an M-class planet
     The Y:
          Get there twice this week, three time next week.
          Get a swim suit.
     Distance to Goal:
          Been once this week. (unchanged)
          Used the walk, jog, run track briefly. (unchanged. I walked, by the way)
          No swimsuit but Friday is payday. (unchanged)
     Weight Watchers:
          Use the paper tracker.
          Make a menu plan with the PPV's worked out.
          Attend PowerStart and Regular meeting this week.
     Distance to Goal:
          Paper tracker is still in top drawer of night stand. (unchanged)
          Menu plan a gleam in the eye. (unchanged)
          Friday is still ahead of us. (unchanged)

Post Number: 5

I am in Theory 6, for those that know the Boise ITT campus. For those that don't, it is a small lecture room that would hold about 40 students. As I sit in this room, dark and cool, passing time between one tutoring session and the next, I ponder the background to share that may bear witness as a reminder to me of where I have come from that brought me to this point in time, place, and life.

The time: Four days of employment left - Today, Saturday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

The place: Theory 6 at ITT-Boise.

The life: Embarking on a new health-ifying adventure.

This first one in particular has led to strange sensations in my life. At this time of the quarter, when I find myself caught up on preparations and grading, I use the time to start preparing for next quarter. Except, I won't be here next quarter. So, how to I fill my time now?

Once upon this mid-day dreary, here I ponder, weak and weary, Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken. I memorized it years ago as a Freshman in High School (Go Clippers!). It was astoundingly beautiful to me at the time. I still remember how it felt. This was a dramatic change for me. Before this poem, I had been delving into Edgar Allan Poe's works. I had memorized The Raven. In contrast, Frost's poem re-awakened in me the wonder and joy of simplicity and light. I was once again awestruck by visual and metaphoric imagery. These types of personal feelings and internal visions hadn't been felt in quite some time. I had been introduced to poetry by my parents. They had given me two books of poetry by A.A. Milne. I simply adored, and still do, those books and especially his poem, Now We Are Six. I believe it was one of the first I memorized. Probably not the first as I was big into Seuss as well.

Beyond the poetic background, I have been lost in thought because I have been pondering Frost's poem. I do not regret, as the somewhat disconsolate traveler in the poem does, that I will not be able to return at take The Road Not Taken. As I depart ITT, I know that this is the road that will make all the difference.

So what does all of this mean? Like so many stories that have a lead-in ahead of vital information, it's time to fill in the plot points, the back story needs told for this to make sense.

My educational background is in Chemistry, specifically the Electrochemistry of redox active cyclophanes. I enjoy teaching. My students tell me I am good at it. So what better option than to teach chemistry? My first teaching opportunity, back in 1989, was to teach Calculus. That first class taught me much about pedagogy: How to write quizzes that don't slaughter students' grades, How to break down my single step in a calculation into multiple steps for the students, How important it is to be more the drill sergeant at the beginning of a class and then lighten up on them as the term progresses, How to front-load a term to make the term progressively easier, How important it is to be available for students, and much more. I was on my way to being a Chemistry professor.

Towards that end, my next teaching assignment was as an Organic Chemistry Lab instructor. And I was still an undergraduate. I thrilled at what I was doing. Other honors and accolades built from my self-made and externally offered opportunities were to follow in graduate school. Through a series of events too numerous to make exciting in a quick-draw blog, I ended up at ITT as a part-time instructor. I threw myself into the work. And was rewarded with my first full-time teaching gig. I had arrived. I may not have been teaching Chemistry for more than 2 weeks out of the quarter, but I was teaching. Plus, it's easy to add Chemistry topics into lessons from the other sciences. And, as every one that has passed through my Science class knows, Chemistry is the core science upon which all of the other applied sciences rely.

But it wasn't to last. In time, the dwindling enrollment at this campus led to the loss of all full-time faculty except Nursing. I have worked for 24 years to be a college professor. I spent just shy of two years actually doing what I love as a career. And to make matters even more irksome, corporate had changed the hiring requirements during short tenure in the full-time category. I could not be hired back to full-time. The local administration at ITT has been strenuously generous by providing me all of the additional opportunities they could for the benefit of me and my family. And for that, I am and will be extremely grateful. Thank you EF, AF, JB, KE, CK, AC, and so many more for your supportive efforts and encouraging words.

But two roads diverged in a yellow wood. One was the path I was already on. I have failed miserably at keeping at bay what little weight I had managed to beat back while maintaining part-time employment and seeking full-time opportunities. The other path: Total devotion to improving my health, regardless of the current lack of employment. So, without any certainty in my future employment, I gave ITT my 5 week notice. I hope it was enough to make the arrangements necessary for my replacements. MBWM (My Beloved Wife M) says it will take at least three people to replace me. I hope it took them fewer weeks.

And be one traveler, long I stood. I have walked this failing, frequented path too long. I must throw off what hasn't worked. Take the time, take in the way the Vikings took. Bludgeon time fillers gleefully. Plunder health forcefully. Take the time to make my life more healthy. I do not know that I will even be employed one year from now. I do know, I will be healthier for it.

And that will make all the difference.

Your fellow life-traveler on the road seized,


P.S.: IVCUFI. Which means -
     Invenietis viam (find the way)
     Corripuere uiam (seize the road)
     Frui iter (enjoy the journey)
     Thank you Google Translate

Point of Trivia: Edgar Allan Poe is considered the inventor of the detective story.

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