Saturday, February 2, 2008

Delightful Dora from Detroit Dishes It Out. Why We Proffies Are the Way We Are.

Dear Parents:

I promise, your child is in my class. You see, Rate Your Students is not just read and written by the few rogue professors who are bitter, worn down, jaded, and disillusioned. Nearly all professors are cynical bastards, and that's not because there's something inherently wrong with academics.

It's because there's something inherently wrong with a system that requires a 200% time commitment and compensates with a very low salary. Parents, do you realize that our job isn't just to teach your kids? We are expected to give 100% to our classes and our students -- and then we are expected to give an additional 100% to our committee meetings, to grading papers, to planning lessons.

And to our research. If we don't publish papers, present at conferences, and otherwise engage in professional development, WE LOSE OUR JOBS. Most academics work more than 40 hours/week. We don't spend our summers sipping umbrella drinks poolside -- we spend our summers working on the projects we need to do in order to get published in Peer Reviewed Journal X and to have our grant proposal accepted for Project Y. And a lot of us teach, too. So pardon me for being a little stressed out, and for venting about the part of my job that gives me the most grief: your children.

Why do I do this job? Because working for a corporation wouldn't allow me to do my own research. Because working for the government wouldn't let me pursue my own interests. Because I do enjoy sharing my passion with others. The problem is that so many of the students just don't care, so I sometimes feel like I'm wasting my time.

Don't worry, though, parents. I come to class each day, I smile, I answer questions. Then I come home and read Rate Your Students because my face hurts from all that faking. Your children? They don't have a clue. If they did, my job would yield many more actual smiles.

-- Doctor D!