Wednesday, December 22, 2004

they never come when you're ready or waiting ...

School has finished for another year and the goose is getting fat. The whole weekend I have been labouring (sorry darling - not as hard as you did!) over a interesting opportunity. It goes like this ...

Thursday last week I was offered a major role in a hugh ARC funded Monash Uni research project. Ilana Snyder, who I have written about previously, has been awarded a massive grant (well, to me it's massive) for a research project she has written called 'Being digital in school, home and community: investigating the implications of young people's engagement with ICT for education'. She has kindly written a PhD opportunity into the project and offered this to me. We would be working as a team (there would be a researcher with PhD quals too) and I'd get a scholarship of about $18,837 per year for three years (tax-free). I'd also be allowed to work 8 hours a week on top of this without affecting the scholarship.

This would effectively mean leaving full-time teaching for at least three years. (a very uncomfortable idea at this stage - school's over and holidays are kicking in! You forget the pain of middle term 2!)

I haven't yet decided what to do. I've talked to various close friends who have all given me excellent advice and I thank them for this. But I'm still undecided.

It would mean a substantial pay cut (my salary scale now is about $43,000 - and a little more with the extra stuff I'm doing at school) and things would be tight at home - Austen has just arrived and E is not working till at least Septmeber (OUR choice). In terms of family, timing is quite good, Austen is small and has no brothers or sisters yet (!), and we can live on beans and rice for a year or two.

Leaving the classroom scares me.

Can I get along with Ilana for three years? (or she with me?) Are we on the 'same page' in terms of values, politics, epistemology, approach to teachers and their work? In most of these I would have to say 'of course', but then you never can tell really. I've never worked closely with her before - in terms of a Mentor-mentee type thing - which is what she is really offering - an induction into academia.

Is this what I really want?

Sure, it sounds fine, but I know I'm gonna miss my kids, MY students.

And there is always that nagging feeling that when you take one door, you miss the opportunity of many others.

E would tell me to get over it and do it. 'Analysis Paralysis'

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