Don’t be that guy

Busy day–we’re still teaching classes here, with our dogforsaken 16-week semesters. But then, as Dr. Crazy noted yesterday, they end. (Finally!) And then, we begin all over again.

Don’t miss Dr. Crazy’s thoughts about teaching, and the myth that college professing is all about b!tching about teaching and cutting corners:

People act like professors are a bunch of slackers who don’t want to teach. Look: I teach four courses a semester. And I don’t hate teaching, and I don’t actually want to teach less. I want the time to teach the way that I’m capable of teaching – I want time to really reflect on the work that I do as a teacher, to design new assignments, to think about the texts that I teach and to connect those ideas to the ways in which I present those texts to my students. I want time to do my best by my students. And that is the thing that is lost in the current structure of higher education, for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty alike. For those of us on the tenure-track, we’re so burdened with the work of running the university that teaching gets short shrift, regardless of how many courses per semester we teach. For those off the tenure-track, they are so burdened with their contingent status (lack of office space, lack of job security, lack of resources to do their jobs well – like computers, photocopying privileges, etc. – and while these issues are tougher for part-timers, they affect full-time non-t-t faculty as well).

Discuss. Or just make fun of Gaston, a prime example of an anti-intellectual, abusive creep.

14 thoughts on “Don’t be that guy

  1. What Dr. Crazy said. Amen. Nobody goes into academia for the money. There isn’t enough of it. We go into it because we care about the work. Educrats realize they can exploit the hell out of teachers because we care too much to let ourselves do a bad job. And then they ratchet up the exploitation to the point where it’s impossible to do a good job … which was the only real reward we self-starters were getting out of it!

    And then they wonder why people isn’t learning.


  2. Just got asked by the provost to serve on ANOTHER committee… Who knew grad school training led to meetings any day I’m not teaching. I only wish I had the time to put real energy into teaching during the semester! Our gorgeous state is a million dollars in the black this year and refuses to refund any monies back into the universities. Yay!!!! Here’s to more administrative work for all! On less pay!


  3. I just wrapped up everything except for one lingering grad student mark (student had an emergency so the last paper’s coming in right up to the wire for marks submission). I am sorry your term is still dragging on.

    You’re so right: Gaston stands in for those posturing politicians, ready to make their mark by attacking all those scary things they don’t really understand and wouldn’t want to, anyway!


  4. The public perception of faculty work is always interesting, and the general lack of awareness of the requirements of the service work of faculty is an excellent example.

    Here is an amusing recent personal anecdote: A family member asked me if I was teaching on a specific afternoon. I replied no and I was mentally accounting for the two committee meetings, student interviews, and department activity I had scheduled that afternoon, the person happily excalimed, “Oh good! Since you aren’t busy that afternoon, can you take me to a medical appointment?” Yeahhhhh…because when we aren’t teaching a class we are typically napping because there is nothing to do!


  5. 16-week semesters? Ouch…mine are 15 weeks, and feel like a marathon. I dream about the Canadian 12-week model frequently at the best of times, but even more when grading final papers!


  6. Your kids are wild; my kids are active. That is the normal view of my side compared your side. Obviously, profs and teachers are free loaders. When the three Rs of education are mentioned, no one means Respect for others.

    My load is two courses per semester and if I make the dean much richer, i.e. bring sums of 6 to 7 digits $, I’ll teach even less. Since I am suppose to do research, two per is a lot. I love to teach cooperating students and hate to teach cows watching me with glazed eyes.

    I fully agree that we don’t spent enough resources, intellect and bureaucracy on improving teaching. Furthermore, the current teach state of art is 1950 at best.


  7. Heh — I am currently marking a bunch of projects in which this song makes an appearance. I anticipate many comparisons of Gaston, the Beast, and Kronk in the final essay, as well…


  8. Since I am suppose to do research, two per is a lot.

    You know, koshembos, faculty in the humanities are supposed to do research too. And they do, of course, they simply do it while also teaching those larger course loads.


  9. I always thought that being a good teacher also meant being a good researcher and an active part of the University. Although I don’t love all my service (not be a long shot) there are some committees that are pedagogically oriented (Writing across the Curriculum, Curriculum Forum, Assessment) and some where I work with students (History Club, Honors Society)- and I find these useful to me personally.

    However, what I object to is the expectation of an increasing service load in our university- we have fewer full-time professors and more service opportunities. I just don’t have the time to do it all. Other professors don’t do the service and don’t get penalized for it (especially if they are already tenured, which most of are full-time professors are because of the ongoing hiring freeze). Some are technically on committees and never show up. Until we have a system that lays out a real set of expectations for service, it will be an unfair burden. We should get a little bit of course credit for service- not to reduce our teaching load, but so that it is tracked and the University administration SEES (in numbers- the only thing they seem to notice) how much work goes into that service for which they get free labor.


  10. We have a 15 week semester here too, which is a bit of a shock (I keep feeling as though someone has moved the finish line in the night.)

    On the other hand, one of the terrific things about New Job is that there is no coddling of students with a reading period or an exam period. So when you are done, you are really fatherf*ck!ng done. Last class is the exam: graduation four days later.

    Dr. Crazy is so right — having the time to feel like you are teaching well, and have the energy imagine new and fun ways to teach the material is the ticket.


  11. Pocahontas (the Disney version) is part of our 10th grade honors summer reading along with several other versions of the story (some more mythic than others) and various artistic representations. Also a brief Slotkin excerpt that defines history, myth, and memory. The students have to write a short essay on how has the story operated as history, myth, and memory. Waiting for Coll Thrush’s book on indigenous London for another cool secondary readings to add.


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