…or we will be derisive toward you and say you are not serious, or that you are a traitor to our cause.
But I am not cut out to be a caretaker and I am more atmosphere sensitive than some. I think that teaching remedial courses to students who do not want to be in them, in programs that are poorly conceived and staffed by faculty who are fighting among themselves and stabbing each other in the back, is more than one “owes” the “profession” … even if faculty who never had to do this say you must because that is how you “pay your dues” and “earn your bread and butter” (how I dislike that phrase).
I know that people who have good situations — colleagues who respect research, universities that have libraries — believe that if I were a good enough person to be a professor, I would “rise above” situations like the ones I have and they would not accept for themselves. But as I keep saying, this superciliousness and falseness is why I do not like professors.
All of which is to say that I do not think I give myself enough credit for the desolate and heartbreaking experience it is to teach the lower division courses in our program. From midterm on I become increasingly sad but it is partly because of the sadness of the days and partly because I, in particular, am not cut out to be a caretaker, as one must be in these courses when there is no coordination.
This is a negative post, I know, and I know the answer to this problem is to laugh and be affectionate, or dismiss the whole thing, and either way focus attention on more sustaining things; but I think one needs to name and acknowledge what makes one ill rather than try to say it is not important. It seems I am always told I should not be able to handle what I easily can, and that I should be able to handle what I cannot easily.
And perhaps it is this, perhaps what peoples’ exhortations come down to is this; perhaps they have all the exhortations and admonishments they have because of this:
…people will accept years of neurotic pain rather than come to terms with the truth of their lives. In this country we complicate things by compelling people to always look on the bright side, to not trouble others with our problems, to “function,”to stop being such children. But the child is always there anyway, no matter how old you get. And the urge to silence and punish the child within is strong.