I keep going back to this line from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” that Ted utters when he and Bill are sitting outside of a San Dimas Circle-K trying to figure out how they’re going to graduate high school when a phone booth appears out of nowhere. It’s a quote that fits how strange/bad/challenging/confusing 2020 has been. Not only did my husband and I share this campy gem of a movie with our 15-year-old son, Gabe, but we’ve been sharing a lot of our childhood and teen years through watching movies together. I suspect many of you have done the same with your loved ones.
This perspective of strangeness is where I write my first column as Guild President. When I told Roger Bowerman in April 2019 that I would like to run for this position in 2020, I had no idea how different the situation and job would be. Our elections were delayed as we struggled to find a way to hold them without putting our members’ health in jeopardy, so I hit the ground running after graduation in June. I remind myself often that this is not a sprint, but a marathon.
To be honest, I’ve never worked so much or so hard in my life and that’s saying something. In 2016, during my second year of tenure, I thought it was a brilliant idea to go back to get a graduate certificate in museum studies at CSULB while teaching a full load AND raising two sons. I maintained a 4.0 GPA, passed my tenure and student evaluations with flying colors, and got my kids where they needed to go, and kept them clothed, fed, and loved.
But this is a different kind of hard work. It’s challenging because it’s a job in service of others, the greater we/us. The hours I spend in meetings, talking on the phone, and composing emails are many. I say it at pretty much every meeting when I’m trying to remember when something got done, “Time has no meaning anymore” so I suppose it’s why the hours feel the way they do. But it’s not the only reason. The way I’m supported by my Exec team is so astounding that, somehow, the hours don’t seem so long or difficult. They’ve all heard me gush about how much I appreciate all of them, so it’s time that I share my appreciation in writing.
The above group of people are some of the most dedicated, supportive, caring, and conscientious people I’ve ever known. If I need something done, I ask, and it’s covered. Sometimes I don’t even have to ask, that’s how great this team is. We have each other’s backs and we are here to support all faculty during these strange times.
I know the work all of you do is challenging right now. I see you. It’s not going unnoticed. Glendale Community College is one of the best colleges in our state in terms of collegial faculty. We’re a tight-knit group of dedicated educators who care about our students and each other. I personally appreciate everything you do for your students, your colleagues, and our campus community.
Strange things are certainly afoot at GCC, but I believe that there’s nothing we cannot overcome as a united faculty. Like Bill and Ted who traveled through time to gather historical figures for their project and faced obstacles in doing so, we, too, will experience our own obstacles since we don’t know when this pandemic will be over or when we can get back to a sense of normalcy. Whatever the future holds, let’s remember we are stronger together.
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