Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Stan, Stan, He's Our Man, If He Can't Quell the Junior Faculty, No One Can."

  • Rachel sounds like the whiny students I have in class. I bet she is young and has recently come up through the current "raise self esteem" and "kill work ethic" elementary, secondary, and higher ed system of education. I'll agree with Stan and add simply that Rachel needs to grow up. People make their own opportunities. Sounds like she's waiting to be spoonfed on her job just like she was probably spoonfed all the K-12 and college. That's the nature of the folks coming out of our education system these days. The whiny students we write about now will be tomorrow's college professors. Makes me cringe to think of it!!

  • Oh, I'm sure you'll kick the shit out of Stan tomorrow, but I had to write to say I think his advice is right on. Stan hit me hard with this comments. I recognized myself in every line. But I'm not entirely to blame. My advisors in grad school all gave me the party line that I must fear the new institution, be on my best behavior, eat shit and like it. And for the first couple of years that's what I did. I had a full-scale victim suit on, and everything that happened around me felt like an attack, a slight. It wasn't true, of course, and I found out when I'd given up on the job already. I told my chair that I wasn't going to accept the teaching assignment I was given, and he pleasantly asked me what I wanted to teach instead. It ended up being a friendly negotiation. I took that as a license to turn down a committee project, and instead of the earth opening up and swallowing me, my colleague said, "Oh, okay, but we wanted to find someone new to campus for this. Do you have anyone else in mind?" And it went like that for a year until I finally felt I'd arrived. Rachel will grow up, we can only hope, and so will the rest.

  • We have a crop of Rachel and Renatas at our college right now. I feel for them because I was one of them, too, not so long ago. Whenever I try to be welcoming, they pull back. When we ask for their opinion at meetings, they stay mum or pass along some freeze-dried reply that seems custom made not to offend. It's maddening. The life of the department is stagnant because the "new blood" won't pump. It just lays there in the vein, looking miserable. It's your school, too, people. Speak up. Say something. Disagree, whatever. But show us your alive. Is there anyone inside those nice clothes?