Tuesday, September 19, 2006

We Recommend the Margarita. Actually A Couple of Them. Step Away From the Computer, And Go Get Something to Drink Right Now.

I'm wondering what to do with my life now that I don't think I can stand teaching any longer. My complaints, however, have less to do with the students themselves. I like them, in general. Sure, there are some who are lazy and some who are not ready (intellectually or emotionally) to be in college, but, for the most part, they are fairly enthusiastic when approached with my own enthusiasm.

Herein lies the rub; I cannot stand the crap that goes along with teaching. I hate the meetings about how many pens we need to buy (who cares?). I hate the meetings where colleague A has to ask a question that clearly ONLY pertains to her and about which I have to listen for an extra 20 minutes when I could be grading / reading / writing / running / sleeping / drinking a margarita / doing any other damned thing I please.

I hate the paperwork and the not-even-thinly-disguised "students as customers with a return policy" thing that allows my students to drop my class during the LAST week of classes!!!! Why the hell should Joe Student be able to "return" 14 weeks of my time and effort? That's time and effort I could have been spending on Jane Student, or again, on myself. The school's desire to rope that sucker student into having to pay for my class again is unethical on so many levels that it makes me want to tell all of my students up front on day one that retaking the class simply because you didn't like your grade is playing right into their hands. And sometimes I even DO say that.

My thoughts are, that when I actually calculate how many hours I spend in administrative meetings etc., and work that into the salary, I really am getting bilked myself. And hell, if I'm going to have to sit in meetings and listen to marketing plans (thinly described as retention management), I might as well get a 9-5 job that PAYS a lot more.

But the sad part is, I love the teaching part and I'd really, really miss my students. There's no real way out of my cage; is there?


An interested reader sends in this terrific advice as a follow-up to today's posting:
  • always bring grading to any meeting with more than 10 people
  • never be on a committee with fewer than 10 people