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Everything I Learned About Professionalism I Learned From Watching Porn

January 22, 2009

Yesterday (Wednesday) was my first day back at teaching after winter break.  I got back into the groove pretty easily – I didn’t really sleep later over the break, and I was pretty much ready to hit the ground running.  I taught my first two classes of the day – a 7:30 and an 8:35. I request early morning classes because 1) I get done earlier, and 2) nobody likes to teach morning classes. These first two classes were my  Stretch 101 classes – so I was familiar with the students from last semester when I had them for WAC 101 (ASU’s version of Basic Writing… I’ll pause while you laugh at the irony of the name. Ok..)  and it was a pretty easy way to start the day. No worries, I thought.  I had an hour or so between those two classes and my two sections of 102 (now larger because of budget cuts), so I went back to my office located in one of the newer buildings on campus, the Hassyampa Academic Village.  

 

The concept – which I actually think is a good one – was to build a complex with dorms (sorry… RESIDENCE HALLS) and faculty offices so that students could have easier access to their instructors. About a dozen Writing Programs Instructors, me included, were moved over, along with about the same number of Math Instructors. There was going to be a tutoring center there, and they were even talking about embedding tutors in some of the WAC classes – which I know works, actually, having been a part of a similar program in Cincinnati. The actual outcome wasn’t up to the high expectations. The tutoring center closed because of funding issues. The embedded tutors? Never happened.  At least two of the offices – one on the English side and one on the Math side – have experienced major damage due to unexplainable water leaks from the ceiling that seems to be no one’s responsibility to fix. Not to have you think that only the faculty are experiencing this misfortune – last year after a small fire (probably started by a contraband hot plate or curling iron) some students got sick and were hospitalized when the water from the sprinklers soaked into the carpet and, because it wasn’t properly cleaned up, mold spouted.  One of my fomer 102 students was one of the girls whose room was affected because the fire happened next to hers. The mold crept over into their room through the wall. She barely passed because she as sick for the rest of the semester. I heard from her that it was that fun blackish-gray mold – you know, the REALLY BAD KIND that causes lung problems.

 

As if shoddy workmanship on the state tit wasn’t enough, the Arizona budget crisis has already created casualties. The state has cut money from each of the state university budgets in an attempt to follow the State Constitutional Mandate to balance the budget every year. This led to the laying off of most part-time instructors. In the short term, that led to larger class sizes. In the future, it may lead to a bigger teaching load for those who are fortunate enough to have jobs.  And, on top of that, no word has trickled down to us lowly year contract instructors as to our professional fates for next year.  Anxiety is running deep. Now, with the announcement from Michael Crow that ASU may close an entire campus – one, by the way, that they were only last talking about growing and expanding – the anxiety among us non-tenured/non-tenure track folks is turning into a quiet panic.

 

Ok, that’s not accurate. We’ve been at panic mode for a while now… so much so that we were graced by our Department Chair with a meeting to discuss these issues. This meeting happened right before Winter Break. All instructors were invited to attend. The Department Chair, the Associate Chair, and the interim Writing Programs Administrator (who is about as useful as a wool sweater in August) would also be there to answer our concerns.

 

A few notes about my department: the predominant number of INSTRUCTORS (year renewable contract faculty who teach only in the First Year Writing Program) are women.  Many of them are fine teachers and nice people.  There is a small circle of women who seem to have the ear of the Chair, and I trusted them to air our concerns. They’ve been there longer. They should know what to do.  And after all, I’m no misogynist.

 

The meeting, however, quickly devolved from a forum for us instructors to discuss our issues into a referendum on what a great job the Chair was doing. At one point, I felt like some of the women would have lined up on their knees and fought one another to see who could get to his zipper first.  I don’t know the Chair that well – or even personally – but I have seen him in action. I understand why he has the job he has.  In another life, he could’ve sold cars or talked little old ladies out of their pensions. He’s GOOD. Slick. Even when he claims to have no clear agenda (which he began the meeting by stating) he is still in control.  One of the women – a leader – started in on some of the instructors’ concerns .  Then another one spoke up. And a couple more.  Rumors about lay-offs. Rumors about the impact of letting part-time instructors go. Rumors upon rumors.  Some concerns about the fact that the interim WPA is prig in his dictatorial emails threatening to call us on the carpet “to explain ourselves”  if too many of our students get A’s (which, I THOUGHT, was the point.)

 

Not only did the Chair do one of the best rhetorical ballets I have ever seen – and I’ve seen a few – but when the topic of taking our contract concerns to the Dean or Provost came up, he told us that if we were going to approach either of them, we had to have a Plan. We couldn’t, he let it slip, just go in and “whine.”

 

He backtracked from the Freudian slip, all smiles and apologies.  But the message was clear. He also quoted the new English Department secretary to us.  The quote went something like this: “People shouldn’t go around with a loaf of bread under their arms complaining they don’t have any ham.” In another context, this folksy wisdom might have appealed to me.  In this case, it didn’t – because, in this context, it carried the silent threat of being laid off.  If you’re not happy, then we’re not happy with you. Smile like you like it, BITCH!!!  And what about the confluence of budget cuts, layoffs – none of which impact tenured or tenure –track faculty, who don’t have anywhere near the teaching load instructors have – and limp wristed threats regarding grade distribution? That, he assured us, was just chance.  An accident. A coincidence. He chided us for being conspiratorial; though I suspect, in another setting and another time, it would have been punctuated with a nice little pat on the ass for the gackle of office girls and patronizing shake of the head. You silly girls and your gossip. Take my dictation.

 

By the end of this meeting, everyone was telling him what a fantastic job he was doing and that they knew he had our backs. The tone was nauseatingly upbeat. But believe me, I wouldn’t trust him with my back.  That was when the realization hit me. AndI have to confess, I felt a little stupid.  All discussions within the department (and indeed, within any bureaucratic  body) are based on the assumption that we will all behave like professionals. PROFESSIONALS. I thought, once upon a time in recent memory, that if I behaved more like a professional that I would get treated like one. I have since come to the conclusion that any reference to being a PROFESSIONAL really and truly refers to the World’s Oldest Profession.  And, just like that hot girl with plastic boobs and the bubble gum pussy who just can’t seem to get fucked enough, we’re supposed to take the administrative cocks up all orifices and smile when it’s time for the money shot.

 

No thanks.  There’s a point where my dignity takes over and it’s not okay for them to cop a feel and pick my pocket.

pornface21

 

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2009 10:21 pm

    You are a fag. You teach writing because you obviously have no aptitude for it.

    You should stop this shit.

    • April 14, 2009 11:36 am

      Original. One more anonymous fuck on the internet with smart ass comments. When you’re old enough and have hair on your balls, maybe you’ll be able to think of something better to say.

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