Finding home at NOVA

“Origin Story”


Today ends the first week of my fourth year of teaching.

Four years ago, after I completed my second master’s degree, I was accepted into UC Irvine without funding, which was an unusual move as it went against traditional practice and website information (which guaranteed all admitted students funding). They even flew me down to visit campus before, after much persistent questioning on my part, they explained I’d have to wait to find out about funding. And wait I did. Five. Long. Months.

And then, no funding.

So, on a visit back home to Virginia I interviewed at the local community college, was hired, and chose my classes all in the same afternoon. I returned to my family stunned. I had a job! Oh, and I was moving 3000 miles for it.

My first semester I was an adjunct, which included a pro-rated (sounds like a nice word, but isn’t) course. The second semester I was an adjunct with an overload (weird, I thought, how can an adjunct teach an overload? but how awesome! more classes! more teaching!). The night before classes started during my second year I was hired as an Assistant Instructor. This meant that I would teach 39 credits over two semesters (30 credits is considered full-time) and be paid about half of what I make now as a regular, permanent, full-time faculty member. When an opening for the job I was already doing was approved, my college decided not to offer me an interview for the position, probably because my teaching style didn’t jibe  so well with those who held the power to make decisions. [insert long, dramatic story here, the highlight of which is the incredible support I received from 98% of the faculty and staff].

But the universe is a mischievous, mysterious, and –in this case– benevolent creature. When I didn’t get the job at my first college, I applied to others. And at the end of the summer Woodbridge offered me a temporary 9-month position amidst their own pirates and rebels. Nine months later I applied for the permanent position I currently hold.

And I found home.