TCC had a faculty development meeting this morning.
Usually, I can’t stand these things, whether they’re for TCC or the health club or, really, for pretty much anyplace I’ve ever worked. They’re generally poorly planned, long-winded, and boring, and this is the second such meeting I’ve had to attend this week (the first being an excruciating annual all-employee meeting for the health club on Tuesday). I’ve been quietly glad to have the excuse of my fitness job to fall back on to get me out of TCC’s meetings early, but not today.
Today, the coordinator had invited a Ph.D. from a college in the next state over to come and speak to us. This man’s work is grounded primarily in fine arts and performance, but he’s doing a lot of interesting investigation into what he calls “the third mind” – that space that is created when two or more people enter into a dialogue and new ideas, thoughts, possibilities and realities are created.
As I sat there listening to this admittedly eccentric man give his presentation, I felt energized, excited, and more than a little rueful. Without coming off as conceited or boastful, I’m pretty sure that about 90% of my colleagues, sitting in the room with me, had no concept of what this man was really talking about. They couldn’t see the connections between the examples of popular culture he was projecting on the screen and the ideas of critical thinking and analysis – I could tell this because of the questions they asked and the comments they made – and I’m pretty sure most of them (at least, the math guy, anyway) was waiting for “the point” without realizing that it was right there in front of them.
I hated the hell out of the fact that I had to leave an hour into this fascinating presentation to teach my yoga class. I could just feel my brain starting to expand and stretch in ways that it hasn’t since graduate school, and I was reminded again of how much I get off on that feeling of excitement at the prospect of discovery and new perspectives. As I drove to the health club, I called Mr. Chili at his office and lamented that, at least this morning, I felt wasted at TCC. There’s so much more that I can do – and so much more that I can think – than I’m doing and thinking, and the environment at TCC doesn’t offer much room for that kind of inquiry. I’ve noticed that I’ve generally stopped “thinking big.” This morning’s meeting illustrated for me just how small my thinking has become, and I don’t like it one little bit.
There’s a lot of general disdain for pure academia, but I’ve got to admit that I love it. More to the point, I think I may want to start aiming my little career boat a bit more toward the proverbial ivory towers. I’m going to trot out my resume, add my TCC experience, do a little scrubbing and polishing, and send it out to schools that have a more academically-inclined program. I would like to consider myself a peer to people like this Ph.D. (whether I get my doctorate or not) and I know I’m not going get there if I allow myself to settle with where I am.