Monday, July 8, 2013

Professor Peterson with his Phoenix Phollowup.

Professor Puffenstuff
Knocks It Out of the Park!
So, I mentioned my BIG chance at a full time gig at my awful community college.

I did have to cancel a class in order to meet their intractable schedule, but I got it worked out in time. I had my big day and it was rather nondescript. I did okay, but I was not as sharp as I had hoped. That's all on me. I was wishy washy about the chance and I treated it that way. The results, I'm sure, will be lousy.

But here's my favorite part.

During the formal committee interview, I was asked what I would do if a student on my roster failed to appear in the first week of classes.

Well, I've been teaching here for years, so I know both the official and unofficial process. Official: Drop them after the first week of classes if they've made no contact. Unofficial: wait until the second week, just in case.

So I said, "Well, I'd drop them after the first week UNLESS they made some attempt to contact me. Then I might let them join up in the second week after making up any assignments."

The committee glanced around at each other.

One member broke the silence. "That just would not do here. What we'd ask any instructor, full time OR PART TIME to do is to reach out to any student who misses the first week with an email and a telephone call. That's something that's standard."

I was about to mention the official college policy but then the chair said, "There's a way we go about things at this college, and this is one of those things that a prospective instructor either gets or doesn't get."

Oh, there were some nice moments, too, like they knew my name, but we wrapped up a bit early!


  1. Classic! So there's the official policy, the unofficial policy, and then there's the unofficial policy that you're supposed to "just get," regardless of the official policy that has, apparently, been communicated quite clearly to you. And it all becomes a "gotcha" question at an interview for a full-time position (for which they undoubtedly have far too many all-too-well-qualified applicants; I'm sending some psychological self-manipulation disguised as a winnowing question here).

    Also, don't they know that students hate to communicate by either email *or* phone *call* (voice). Obviously, the right answer is to reach out by twitter and text (even though you may not have access to the student's twitter account, and the phone # you have may well be mom and/or dad's land line).

  2. Cassandra has it right: it sounds like a f*** you question. So sorry.... I guess the general default these days is to answer any such question starting from the idea that you will dedicate yourself to kissing student ass.

  3. When HR set up your interview, Dr. Pfeffernusse, I was willing to dismiss the incompetence (albeit with a facepalm) as that of a poorly supervised summer intern. But no! Incompetence reaches to the very core of your erstwhile department!

    Misery indeed. And excellent, excellent caption on the graphic.

  4. Same thing happened to me at an interview. The committee asked me how I felt about students who showed up as they pleased. I explained to them that students in my classes are responsible for their own attendance and are still responsible for getting the notes from someone, and are still responsible for stuff missed. Furthermore, if the college has a drop policy then I would enforce it.

    I got lots of blank stares and phony smiles. Only my wallet was sad when I didn't get hired.

  5. Oh, Professor Fahrvergn├╝gen, I hope you get a better job somewhere else, soon. These so-called colleagues are shitheads who deserve to have their noses rubbed in their own institutional rules.


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