I just got an amazing phone call (at home of course--no longer have an office) from a guy I hired as a part time instructor a few years ago--at first he was ok, but started missing class, not turning in grades on time and couldn't be reached by phone, stood up students he promised to meet, graded unfairly, didn't return papers, didn't cover syllabus, etc., etc.

He wants to use my name as a reference.

I told him he could list my name but I would mention all of the above if anyone called me. And then he wanted to argue about why it wasn't so much, he wasn't so bad, etc.

I retired a year ago--even talking to him seemed like unpaid work. What universe does he live in?

::goes off grumbling::
I wrote about my former college's censorship of the gay and lesbian literature course several days ago. There was also a very gloating and hate-filled letter sent out to many faculty and staff from the faculty sponsor of the student right-wing religious organization. One of the English faculty met with the VP in charge of business and legal matters to complain about this letter, and he was very supportive! Agreed that letter should not have been sent, that diversity and tolerance are good, and will reprimand the sender of the letter. Still waiting for meeting on even more serious curriculum issue, but sounds like the administration is not sympathetic to the worst of the yahoos, at least.

Abundance )
mamculuna: (Default)
( Aug. 29th, 2004 11:37 am)
Revolution )

I've been getting some email from some people in my old school. I knew they'd need to contact me sometimes about details of unfinished business, and that's fine--I tried to leave everything tied up, but know that's not possible. But this is different--it's a brand-new problem. The administration made a faculty member cancel a section of the minority lit course that had been publicized as focusing on gay and lesbian literature--not because of enrollment, but because of content.

This totally infuriates me on several levels: academic freedom, free speech, and of course the idea that it's fine to look at other minorities but not these. Having a gay son makes me identify with this a bit, too. Adding to the complexity for me is the fact that the instructor of the course is a guy that I'd really had some difficult dealings with in the past over completely unrelated issues, and in those cases had taken the side of the administration (still think I was right then).

I did help rewrite the petition to reinstate the course or offer it next semester, but have since decided that I'm no longer paid to get tied up in knots over what happens there. I'm able to ignore other things, even including the fall off in enrollment and possible cancellation of the program that was my baby, but find it more difficult with this one. Now is not the time, but I think eventually as a citizen and taxpayer I will find myself at least sending an email.

But another part of me says drop it completely, that's the old life. Forget it.
Much as I moan about students, sometimes I really love them. One very nice treat was a visit from a student who came to invite me to see her get her Master's--a fairly rare accomplishment for students who start in basic reading and writing classes as she did.

Also, notes like this one from an online student who made a B instead of the A she wanted or the C I thought she might wind up with:

Prof. K, I really love you. You are and have been more than a English Prof. to me this semester even when I was not as polite as I know to be. I read all of your comments
and every one of the " Do the Work, I know you can" e-mails. Thank you for pushing me and making me "think things through." I really enjoyed this class.

G-d Bless
mamculuna: (Default)
( Apr. 21st, 2004 11:24 am)
Doonesbury and Get Fuzzy spoilers for today's strips )

In other news, I seem to be having a quagmire experience of my own at work. Just when I should be cleaning out my bookshelves and taking long lunches, all the nutcases find my office. Sorry to be so short on compassion, but a lot of what I get is attempts at manipulation. Like the ones (and I see them every semester) who turn in papers that can easily be located on the papers-for-sale sites and then try to convince me that it was just a coincidence, or they forgot to cite that as a source! Word for word, and it's a coincidence? Also obnoxious are the ones who think intimidation is the route to go--big guys who stand over me and shout. Like I'm going to say "0ooh I'm so scared! Of course I'll make your teacher give you an A."

And of I can tell it's this time in the semester when I have to keep a box of tissues by the guest chair in my office. "Oooh if you cry, of course I'll just have to give you credit for work you didn't turn in."

And the worst of it is, some of them are faculty.

Clearly it's time to go! Cynicism has overwhelmed me.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Mar. 3rd, 2004 01:06 pm)
Now that I'm actually able to se the end of working here (May 21 will be last day), I'm having very strange reactions. I thought it would be like moving or graduating from school, that I'd be caught with nostalgia and see only the wonderful things that I hated to leave. Just the opposite. It's as though the only way I could stay here was to blind myself to the realities, and now that I can leave, I'm seeing the truth. I guess.

Anyway, I find myself very impatient with the faculty, the administration, and the students. I also find myself less willing to hide my frustration with some behavior. When students just don't bother to study for an exam, when faculty come to meetings to complain about lack of support from the administration but can't actually cite a case where that's happened, when administrators allow a good person to be fired for personal and political reasons, I really find what's happening is that I'm losing respect for them. And telling them, of course--never one to keep it all bottled up! Not all, of course. In most categories there are still some people who I admire, but I seem to be surrounded suddenly by people I don't respect.

Not that I'm great. I will be first to admit that, and have done it publicly, many times. I wonder if I'm just suddenly seeing this, or if people are changing. It may be too that I'm just learning to be more honest with myself as I grow older.

And then also there's the contrast with the ones I admire. Today one of the adjuncts came in in tears to cancel her class--her 2 year old son is being tested for autism. I couldn't really do anything but hug her and cry too--and I guess the frustration of not being able to help her any way, when she's been such an excellent, responsible, thoughful, committed teacher, made me even less patient with the full time instructor, making ten times her salary, who's having a complete hysterical breakdown because of having to teach one class he doesn't like. I really want to make them have to see themselves the way I see them--but I know I've got to do that with myself first.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 13th, 2004 09:21 pm)
Today I went to my office, sat down to read email, and got dragged out by a security officer. Turned out we had a bomb threat and they shut the whole campus down for two hours and sent us home. I had to meet a candidate for an adjunct job, so I called and met him at a nearby coffee shop instead. He was so nice, so smart, had such great credentials, and was willing to work for our salary. He was perfect--until he had to admit that he had left his previous long term employment as a result of being on the wrong side of a sexual harassment suit.

I didn't want to run screaming, or call in the bomb squad, so I stood around and talked with him for a while in the parking lot, thanking him for driving in, etc.

When I went back into my office, I realized that my jeans had been unzipped the whole time. My shirt wasn't tucked in, but it's not really long, and I don't think the fly was indecently open, but poor guy! He must have noticed--but it was impossible for him to say anything, given the context of our conversation.

Next time I leave the house, I am definitely looking in a full-length mirror. Or maybe not wearing jeans to work, even if it is Friday.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jan. 10th, 2004 04:26 pm)
So glad to get back to my yoga class. This morning I moved myself up to the "intermediate" class--that may be a bit of an exaggeration. Some tough-for-me vinyasas, because balance and upper body strength are not my strong suits, but then a lot of hip openers-flexible! That I am. The new studio is warm!!! and beautiful (warm orange walls, painted with Moroccan designs and jewels)!! I am so grateful to have such a great resource. And I met someone who I've seen in class but never sat near in the old class. Turns out we do the same work and have many friends in common, so that was a pleasure. Makes it more sangha-like.

Now I've come home and written fairly diligently for the last couple of hours, and realized that I've done 3 chapters over Christmas. I'm beginning to see the end--it is incredibly exciting to think I'll finish a whole draft of a novel. I've done short stories and poems all my life, but this is a new experience. It basically will never be great, and needs lots of revision, but it does exist.

But so does this empty feeling in my middle--hmm, smoked gouda and pesto? Is that a possible combination? Wonder if that avocado is still in existence.

The last week has really been a lot of stress, so I decided that the dieting would go on hold until the semester gets started. I'm still trying to keep teachers in all the classes, but they keep quitting faster than I can hire. Herding cats? Yes. Underpaid, whiny, brilliant cats.
This is the time of year when I realize that my job is being the complaint department. I really, really do not want to talk with any more students about the very good reasons they had for:

missing their exam
missing all their classes
not turning in their papers
cut and pasting their papers from online
leaving false cancellation notices for their classes
calling and leaving obscene messages on their instructors voice mail
not signing up for the right class so they shouldn't get a bad grade in the wrong one that they did take
and so on

and so on. I usually think that what my community college needs is recess--today I think it's corporal punishment.


mamculuna: (Default)


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