I have no fear. That's right. I am fearless. And I'll tell you why. I hate teaching, academia, and everything about it, but I've invested too much time in too specialized a field to be able to make a living any other way.
You say that most of all we are afraid of our students, and this just made me bury my head in my hands and cry. Why? My students? They're nothing to me. I don't fear them, don't like them, nothing. Total numbness. I don't even bother with their names. I prepare for class on the train and grade papers on the ride home. I have no pride left in my work or in me, much less in watching my students improve.
And that's what depresses me. I got into this business because of the students. Because I love literature and wanted to teach it to students. But then I got put into a freshman English course with no experience, no guidance, no recommended textbook and twenty-five dead-eyed, cheating, lying, lazy, deceitful miserable students, and really, before I even experienced it, the joy of teaching was gone, and all my hard work was for naught, and I have never recovered.
So, I have no fear anymore; I just don't care. Not about teaching, not about publishing, not about the juvenile shenanigans that count as academia. Nothing. Numbness. And the worst part is, I still have forty more years until I can retire.