Thursday, April 06, 2006


To be brief, what's happening is that the office that I work for is probably not renewing my contract next year. I would be only the second person that this has happened to, so it's a sort of record. I would likely be switched to another department's class. So, it's off to American History 101.

My problems, as I understand them, are as follows:
1) I seem bewildered or afraid of students. Actually, I seem this way with everyone when I first meet them, but it's not good to seem this way around 18 year olds.
2) I invest too much emotionally into the classes. If it isn't obvious here on this blog, I hate the state of higher education. Instead of just bitching about it on a blog, I tend to make reform of higher education my prime goal. Which is just nuts for a TA who also has to take graduate classes. And it's wearing me out.

Anyway, what sucks about all of this is that I am learning about the complaints third hand. I have no idea who complained, or just what their complaints were. Just that I'm probably getting fired by an office that still smiles in my face when I go in to make copies.

Alienated? Trying not to be.


Hiromi said...

"1) I seem bewildered or afraid of students. Actually, I seem this way with everyone when I first meet them, but it's not good to seem this way around 18 year olds."

One of the more irritating side effects of student evals is the growing importance of charisma, it seems. Screw competence; it's all about charisma.

Not that you're not charismatic in your Eeyore sort of way.

Rufus said...

Well, what really irks me is that someone could have told me: "Project from the diaphragm, don't mumble, and give the performance, and most of them will fall for it." I don't really mind acting, but in academia there's this idea that "it either comes naturally, or it doesn't", which is stupid, considering that this is basically public speaking, which can be taught.

I've been told that my first-impression is sort of "weird wall-flower". As people get to know the real me, they just think I'm autistic.

As for charisma, a lot of this admittedly wouldn't matter if the kids weren't so anti-intellectual and the admins weren't so focused on the "educational experience". Of course, this also makes sense if they refuse to quantify anything else. I'm the only person I know here who is okay with giving students standardized tests before they get out.

Hiromi said...


Rufus said...

Oh, it's a joke. I've had a few people think I have asperger's syndrome because I'm emotionally withdrawn and tend to obsessively fill notebooks with facts. But, I think the asperger's kids tend to have flattened affect, and clearly I have the opposite.

Hiromi said...

I get this sometimes, which puzzles me because routine drives me batshit. I think it's because a lot of people associate Aspergers (I keep thinking, "Assburgers") with "misunderstood genius" and think they're giving you a compliment.

Becky said...

Man, that sucks! I'm sorry. And they go and do it behind your back instead of giving you constructive feedback? That's just messed up.