Tuesday, May 17, 2016

10 Years Ago on RYS. One of the Most Visited Posts in RYS/CM History.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I cleaned out my office over the past two days. No more teaching. Today's the first day that I'm not a college professor. I've been teaching a dozen years, the last 6 at a medium sized state university in the northeast.

I tell my friends outside the academy that I just got tired of babysitting, and that's as close as I can come to explaining it to anyone.

When I was in college, it never occurred to me that I was there to be placated and entertained. I wasn't brought up in a time when every spelling bee contestant got a ribbon, and where every soccer team went home at the end of the year with a 4 foot high trophy. College was tough, and it was worth something.

But something happened - or so it seems - between the end of college and the end of grad school. As soon as I started teaching I was pressured in minor and major ways to ease the students through the big educational machine. Low student evaluations - always a result of tough classes or "honest" grading - resulted in ominous visits to the chair's office or the Dean's office.

And so I slacked off like my colleagues had done, became popular, and taught less and less. I won a teaching award 2 years ago. We have 350 faculty members and I was chosen professor of the year. I'm glad I didn't have to make a speech because I would have choked. I knew I wasn't a good teacher. I had become an entertaining facilitator and that was all. That I was good at that brings me nothing but unhappiness.

And so I got sicker and sicker of it. Sicker of the entitlement and the low expectations of everyone around me. My colleagues have drunk up the Kool-Aid and they look at me like I have two heads when I say I can't do it anymore.

I don't have a job, but thankfully my wife has worked a long time in the bio-tech world and I can probably have a year to figure out a new career. But it won't be teaching. At least not in a traditional college or university. Those places are now - by and large - jokes. So little is expected that drunk and horny students make the Dean's list, and we all smile and pat ourselves on the back for making it so.

I guess I shouldn't say "we" anymore. It's your problem now. I quit.


  1. I wonder whatever happened to this writer? Is there any way to find out? I'd be amazing if he turned out to be Bubba, or Strelnikov.

    1. It wasn't me. I didn't quit. I'm still being crushed by the misery.

    2. It wasn't me. I didn't quit. I'm still being crushed by the misery.

  2. Very rarely writers have checked in with mods long after disappearing from our pages, and I often feel like it is the major missing piece of our experience.

  3. There are definitely people I wonder, and in some cases worry, about. Hope this writer landed on his(?*) feet. At least it sounded like he had something of a safety net.

    *some things do change for the better, pretty quickly. Ten years ago someone who wrote "wife" was very likely to be male, at least if (s)he meant it in the legal sense. On the other hand, there are a lot of institutions of higher learning in Massachusetts.


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