Thursday, May 17, 2007


This week Rate Your Students has been publishing diatribes from angry professors explaining why they're quitting teaching. It's depressing reading, although it's not necessarily a bad thing when someone who bitterly hates teaching quits. The last thing we need is another bitter professor running around loose.

But then I look around and try to locate a professor who is not bitter and I come up empty. Throughout academe, this is the bitter time of year: we've given our best time and energy and expertise to the students and the institution and what do we have to show for it? Whining e-mails full of complaints, excuses, lies, and requests that add up to additional work and stress just at the moment when the gas tank is fading toward E.

If the entire school year were like this week, there would be no professors left. But that's what summer is for: time to refuel. We'll start today at the departmental picnic, where the menu includes grilled bratwurst served with a side dish of hearty laughter, and we'll watch the bitterness blow away in the sweet spring breeze. Let the summer come. There will be no resignations in my department this week.


jo(e) said...

I complain just like everyone else about grading papers -- and I do love having the summer to recharge -- but I would like to say for the record that I am not bitter. I love my students. If anything, I'd say that May is bittersweet for me, because some of my favourite students graduate and go on to other things ....

jaywalke said...

I think a lot of that has to do with the type of institution. My SO left a position at a small, private college where the bottom-feeding students were spoiled kids who only made it in due to Mommy's checkbook. Now she teaches at a state school in a rural area where the students come from more blue-collar backgrounds. Many of them are the first in their family to attend college. The whining and sense of entitlement is noticably smaller.

This semester she didn't receive a single email about posted grades.