Wednesday, November 2, 2016

We Get Link-Checked (For Our "Silverback" Glossary Term) In This Crampicle Piece Submitted by ELS.

The 40-Year-Old Burnout: Why I gave up tenure for a yet-to-be-determined career
by Jonathan Malesic

Flava: Burned-out faculty cannot be the teachers and mentors that students need them to be. As the profession becomes more economically precarious — with more and more adjuncts teaching for less and less money or recognition — the working conditions that foster burnout become more widespread. The quality of students’ education and instructors’ lives will spiral downward together if institutions don’t face this problem.

The Misery.


  1. I'm so drunk I think my brain's about to melt. Hopefully patty melt. And, as far as I can tell, the only colleagues not suffering burnout are the ones who are complete fucktards. But I could be wrong.

    1. Some of the good ones are soldiering on and have avoided burnout. But the fucktards are not burning out because they do jack shit while everyone else is left holding the bag.

  2. Every semester I have one or more classes I dread. I laughed when I read this from the article:

    "All semester I completely forgot about simple but effective techniques I had used for years — like requiring short weekly reading responses to spur reading compliance and foster discussion."

    I do this. My students simply refuse to do the work--well, great swaths of them anyway. I teach at a CC, so my burnout issues are probably different in some ways, but I'm there. Early retirement next year after 25+ years. Done.

    1. Wow. I started giving brief quizzes on the reading. I had heard it helped students stay on track, being accountable every class. Instead, getting back low grades for made-up answers (some of them richly detailed, but with no relation to the homework) just seems to make them angry at me. There are growls of disappointment every class when they get the previous quiz back, although they know they didn't do the work. Do they believe in a Quiz Fairy that turns all their donkey dinkey into gold?

    2. Yeah, Ego, what's up with that? Lots of my colleagues are saying the same thing. The students show up--mostly--but do absolutely nothing. It's weird. Or, as teachers, are WE the weird ones?

    3. Frustrated in ForvilleNovember 25, 2016 at 9:32 PM

      Super late response, but I'm intrigued by this conversation. I've given reading responses, pop quizzes, and a combination of both. The courses with pop quizzes were overwhelmingly the best in terms of class discussions and students keeping up with the readings. I designed the quizzes so that anyone who completed the readings could easily pass them. They were easy to grade and held students accountable. I also didn't receive that much push-back from students and the quizzes boosted mostly everyone's grade. Unsurprisingly, the students who failed the quizzes ended up failing the course.

      Reading responses were always a headache. I got tired of reading students' rushed, poorly formed thoughts, and it was clear that they did not even try to open the textbook. I even gave them an example of what an excellent response looks like, but that didn't help (it's hard to write a good response if they don't do the reading in the first place). I ended up giving most students average or below average grades on their responses, which really pissed them off.

      I think they were more willing to accept the pop quizzes because they seemed more objective than reading responses; with the responses, they felt that I was "attacking their opinion" despite how their opinions weren't supported by facts or evidence from the reading.


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