the rookie professor


Hello all! It’s been a long time. I’ve been out of commission because of some employment transitions that I now feel comfortable sharing. In a nutshell: I taught at Sonoma State University this past school year. It was a blast and I continue to feel blessed by the opportunity to have been at this awesome, underrated university. Yes, I taught during a tumultuous academic year that included the NorCal fires, where members of the campus community lost everything. At some point, I’ll write about what it was like to teach at that time.

The larger piece of info that I have been holding on to is this: after six years of teaching as a lecturer (ASU) and visiting faculty member (SSU), I am happy to share that next month, I will be starting a tenure-track position at San Jose State University. How I managed to get the job is a long story, one that is best heard over coffee. For now, just know that my hire is part of this initiative. I’m both nervous and excited about the transition. Friends and family know how difficult it has been getting a TT post in the bay area. This job allows me to come back home and be with friends, family, and my partner. I remain grateful and ready!

As I prepare for my new position, I’m learning that I am a rookie in many ways. For example, San Jose State University has an incredible support system that are helping me get settled in. Most recently, I was asked about my computer preferences. I responded that I am a MAC user, that I’d like a desktop, and I’m not picky. Previously, I’ve inherited computer hand-me-downs, so I assumed as such. When they asked me to look at the apple site and choose my computer (I was given a budget, of course!), I nearly died! After responding with a link to a mid-range desktop, the computer person wrote back and suggested I get a better computer – one that will last me for at least three years, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about getting a good system. With that, I scoured the apple site again and opted for a desktop with a larger screen and a more powerful system. I also ordered the ergo-compliant keyboard and mouse (as opposed to bringing the one I have from home to the office). Sigh. I’m not used to these perks. When I was hired at ASU, I was able to choose an accent wall color. I thought that was the highlight of my career. A snazzy computer that someone else ordered and set up for me?! How did I get so lucky?!


I mention this silliness on my part because it tells you where public school educators come from. I’m not used to having access to cool things at my job. At SSU, our lovely office manager thought it was silly of me to feel guilty for ordering purple pens. (I explained that in a previous university job, I got called in to the manager’s office for spending $6 on pencils.) My reactions and expectations are very different from people who work in the tech/corporate world, where simple luxuries are expected (and not always appreciated). My friends that work in tech/corporate expect top of the line computer systems, outfitted with proper accessories. They expect extra treats such as free meals, entertainment, and gym memberships, along with hearty expense accounts. As a public school educator, I can’t wrap my head around it. This makes me sad because I expect second class treatment, even though the work educators do is infinitely important. Admittedly, I have it good as a professor. There are severely underpaid K-12 teachers who have to pay for school supplies out of pocket! (sigh; this is another rant for another time…) The long and short of it is, when it comes to embracing job perks (even having access to the necessary tools for work), I remain a total rookie.

Maraming salamat for tuning in,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

images found here and here


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