by Tedra Osell on December 6, 2011

Those of you who don’t already “know” me might well be wondering “who the hell is this bitch?” Or actually probably not: CT readers aren’t known for being vulgarians, I don’t think, unlike many of the commenters at the Chronicle (dear god, poor Clare). Thank god I haven’t read the Chronicle in years.

If you had been thinking that, though, it would be a reasonable question, inasmuch as I am, in the world of academe, absolutely no one. (Which frees me from having to read the Chronicle, among other perks.) I left the ivory tower something like five years ago–I no longer remember, exactly–for the exalted position of housewife and PTO mom (did you know that the PTA is a national organization that collects dues, which means that a lot of school parent-teacher orgs now call themselves PTOs? I didn’t). That was fun, and I got to do a lot of teaching because my kid’s public school was kinda run like a co-op and required ridiculous amounts of parental involement, so I developed lesson plans for reading and writing and chemistry and put together a PTO library of sorts and did all sorts of other things, as PTO moms do.

Now, though, said kid, who unlike me shall remain pseudonymous, is in a “regular” middle school, meaning that I’m not actually allowed on campus during the day at all (!). So mama needs to get a job. Adjuncting is Right Out, as is getting a credential and teaching K-12 in California; I’m bored, but not insane. So my shiny new 2012 iteration is gonna be freelancing: I’m thinking academicish editing and hopefully the odd opinion piece somewhere.

Which means I’d been mulling over this whole “writing and being public again” thing lately, when lo, John Q. asked me “hey, would you be interested in writing at CT ever?” And I said, “you know what? Yes, that might be kind of fun.”

So here I am.

There is a certain irony in appearing on an academic(ish) blog as myself only now that I’m no longer an academic. Talk about imposter syndrome. Which maybe I will at some point, who knows.

Until then, though, you can expect me to talk about education, definitely: both higher and k-12. Academic and general writing on- and offline, probably. Popular feminism, most definitely. Politics and culture, inevitably. The weirdness of transitioning from “academic” to “entrepeneur,” as my business workshop kept calling us, no doubt (has anyone besides me ever noticed how insufferably pretentious both those titles are, especially when self-administered?). And if you’re really really lucky, cat videos.

Feel free to toss me links, topics, or photos of your kittens.



Brian Weatherson 12.06.11 at 9:24 pm

I’m really happy that you’ll be writing at CT. Welcome aboard, and thanks for joining!


Walt 12.06.11 at 9:27 pm

Let me be the first to say that you are opinions are wrong.


Sufferin' Succotash 12.06.11 at 9:31 pm

As a card-carrying academic, I can testify that I haven’t read the Chronicle in years either.


bianca steele 12.06.11 at 9:32 pm

I personally like cat pictures, but the last time I tried to find some for my three year old, she saw a colorful line graph of some economic data and made me go back to that. So more line graphs, please!


Leslie 12.06.11 at 9:37 pm

Oh, I’ll be the first to vehemently and irrationally defend all your opinions. With vituperation and calumny. Also raspberries. And meaningless statistics.


J. Otto Pohl 12.06.11 at 9:38 pm

You have a card that describes you as an “academic”?


Tedra Osell 12.06.11 at 9:46 pm

Bianca, I fear that line graphs are not so much my thing. I was in the humanities. But I’ll see what I can come up with…


John Quiggin 12.06.11 at 9:52 pm

You should read the Chronicle now! I have a column there, every two months or so.


Linnaeus 12.06.11 at 9:56 pm

Adjuncting is Right Out

“Five is right out!”


Tedra Osell 12.06.11 at 10:00 pm

John, are the comments stupid? I suppose I could just not read them….


MS 12.06.11 at 10:18 pm

This is fabulous. I loved reading your writing in the past. I have a question: What do you think about Charter Schools? There’s a huge melee in my town right now about charter schools. It’s hard to know what to think. Three issues seem to be at the center (1) the schools are very poor and not progressive for the most part (2) charter schools don’t have unions and (3) charter schools take money away from the other schools.

It’s hard to know what to think though. The parents on both sides seem to be progressive and well-intentioned so it is not one of those cases of horrible right wingers coming in with some plan to undermine the public schools. Nevertheless some assert the charter schools undermine the public schools.


Delicious Pundit 12.06.11 at 10:21 pm

PTO mom? Not a “Friends of” mom? At my kids’ schools it’s always been “Friends of”. My daughter is in a “learning academy” in her middle school, and also plays music, so there are actually three “Friends of” organizations I get e-mails from. I wonder what they do at Eddie Coyle MS.


Barry 12.06.11 at 11:14 pm

Tedra Osell 12.06.11 at 9:46 pm

” Bianca, I fear that line graphs are not so much my thing. I was in the humanities. But I’ll see what I can come up with…”

Yes, you humanities people use pie charts, don’t you?
Even thought Tufte cries every time you use them.


jb 12.06.11 at 11:22 pm

J. Otto – I remember it being mentioned on her old blog that she had “Dr.” in front of her name on credit cards, so does that count as a card carrying academic?


grackle 12.06.11 at 11:30 pm

“academic” is pretentious? I’ve always thought it was a humble admission that whatever-it-is-that-one-writes is in a category that would put paint to sleep, unless, of course, it is your specialty. Entrepreneur, well yeah, instant hubris. Glad to see you here.


Victoria Hanley 12.06.11 at 11:30 pm

Hey, how about coining the term “acapreneur” –I think it has promise, don’t you? And anyway, thanks for the post.


Watson Ladd 12.06.11 at 11:32 pm

Sadly humanities people learned about diagrams. The sob who showed one to Levi-Strauss is probably regretting it around now. (“Wait, you mean this makes my ideas look better then they really are? Cool!”)


bianca steele 12.07.11 at 12:31 am

I think by the time I was aware of your blog, unfortunately, you’d already stopped blogging.

I usually don’t do these personal things, but welcome.

A real request, for the other posters, too: PLEASE, no more zombies above the fold!?


Western Dave 12.07.11 at 1:50 am

Two words: Independent Schools.


David 12.07.11 at 2:07 am

Hey, the Vulgarians were a well known (in rock climbing circles) group of fun loving east coast rock climbers. Nothing wrong with vulgarians.


waldo 12.07.11 at 2:19 am

30+ years in on an academic job…i can tell you without fear of contradiction…the Chronicle is only important if you worry about being asked if you saw “that article in the Chronicle…” or care what goofs who ask questions like that are thinking. Quite similar to joining ALA or reading Library Journal.


tomslee 12.07.11 at 6:27 am

There are thousands, maybe millions, of people who have an affinity with some aspects of the academic life, but who, for one reason or another, have ended up elsewhere. I don’t know what to call us – ex-academics sounds like “people who used to think” or “people who failed to make the cut” – but blogs like this serve as a connection point of sorts for at least one of that group, and I look forward to your take on things.


rageahol 12.07.11 at 7:42 am

only one question:

will you bring the same insensitivity to addiction issues and moral-scold sensibility to crooked timber that you had the sole time i looked at your blog?


Walt 12.07.11 at 7:59 am

I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody brought up how you were wrong about some other issue some other time, thus proving your awfulness as a person, but am I misreading, and ragahol is blaming you for how someone else was wrong about some issue some time? ‘Cause that would be pretty neat.


ajay 12.07.11 at 10:04 am

CT readers aren’t known for being vulgarians, I don’t think

I am offended. There is nothing wrong with being a vulgarian. My grandmother fled Vulgaria as a child.


hellblazer 12.07.11 at 10:31 am

Walt: yes, rageahol is living up to the moniker by deciding that this whole “byline” thing is just some pesky detail that can be safely ignored. But hey, all female academic bloggers are the same person, amirite guys?


Tedra Osell 12.07.11 at 4:16 pm

Indeed, I was gonna say that I do intend to bring the same sensitivity to actually checking one’s sources that most academics, former or current, really ought to demonstrate….


Sumana Harihareswara 12.07.11 at 5:31 pm

Tedra, since you mentioned you’re looking for gigs, the Wikimedia Foundation is seeking a consultant to develop and implement a strategy for expanding its classroom-based Education Program globally and you seem like you hit all or nearly all the checkboxes. Take a look? Other job openings & contract openings also exist at the WMF but that one leaps out at me.


mrearl 12.07.11 at 5:47 pm

Checking sources? How about comprehending content? Far from “insensitive” about the issue, Potter’s piece is a call for straight talk about it, and some Tough Love.


Barry Freed 12.07.11 at 6:04 pm

There are thousands, maybe millions, of people who have an affinity with some aspects of the academic life, but who, for one reason or another, have ended up elsewhere. I don’t know what to call us – ex-academics sounds like “people who used to think” or “people who failed to make the cut”

This. We do need a word don’t we? Not sure how I like the sound of “para-academic” though, maybe someone can do better.


Steve LaBonne 12.07.11 at 6:18 pm

I call myself a recovering academic. ;)


Freddie 12.08.11 at 3:49 am

Topic: the pre-Raphaelite movement began several hundred years after the death of Raphael. Discuss.


Tedra Osell 12.08.11 at 4:17 am

Sumana, thank you! I will check it out.


Eleanor 12.08.11 at 3:15 pm

I was going to suggest “intellectual” for ex-members of academia, but (a) not all academics are intellectuals and (b) not all intellectuals have a college education. How about “alumnae?”


bianca steele 12.08.11 at 3:23 pm

Freddie: Depends which Raphael you’re talking about.


Rhino 12.10.11 at 10:57 pm

There is this one video, the cat plays a keyboard? Can we have that one please?


NBarnes 12.10.11 at 11:17 pm

PK is eleven? Huh.

Is there going to be kid blogging on CT? The masses (i.e. me) clamour for kid blogging! (my son is about to turn 3, and I embarrassingly frequently consult my memories of PK blogging at BPHD).


lesboprof 12.11.11 at 4:55 pm

Glad to have you back on the web again. I missed reading your blog. Glad you and PK are doing well. I look forward to reading more posts.


celloshots 12.11.11 at 11:45 pm

I basically never comment on the internet anymore, but I just had to say welcome back! We’ve missed your voice here on these Internets.


Tenured Radical 12.12.11 at 1:23 am

Someone just left a comment saying that I triggered her by printing the word bitch. Would you please come over and bitch at her?

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