Teaching for Montgomery Burns
In the interest of anonymity and my favorite hobby (which is not being sued), I won’t go too deep into the specifics I find myself in. Which is too bad, because if it wasn’t so horrific, it would be hilarious. So, Legal Disclaimer: some details below may be changed to protect the innocent, ie ME.
The for-profit college where I now find myself is run by a person who I’ll call “Montgomery Burns.” And, while we’re at it, why don’t we draw up a little character sketch? Monty Burns likes: Money, Saving Money, and Eclectic Shrubbery. Dislikes: Spending Money, People Who Leave the Lights On, Liberal Arts.
So what does this mean for the students who attend this school? Nothing good. It means there are no remedial classes, because that would imply the students are weak. It means many of the employees of the college are ‘graduates’ of the place themselves, which can create a very fucking weird dynamic when staff give you dirty looks in the hall and you vaguely remember them dicking off in your class and failing. It also means overloading and combining sections in order to pay less faculty for less time. So, per esempio, despite official paperwork saying the place caps a class at say 35, (and only being room for 35 desks in a class), shoving 50 people in there, making kids sit on the floor and on window ledges. Cause it saved you a few grand! Bazinga!
Monty and Co. cry and bitch about retention. “We get em in the door, why can’t YOU keep them there?” The “you” in question being, presumably, the faculty. So in overcrowded classrooms with no extra resources to help these kids who were accepted because (lets be fucking honest here) they either could write a check or get the government to do it for them, these kids are now expected to do college work (or an extremely watered down version of it), and they can’t. Is it their fault? Not entirely. And when they disappear, vanish into the great unknown, whose fucking fault is it? The man who pays himself a salary greater than what the heads of most nations earn? No, it’s the fucking faculty. Of course.
The place is run like an elementary school. You are expected to teach like you are in an elementary school. The first years are often confused and disappointed that they are treated like they’re in a fucking elementary school. And this toxic environment causes idiots like me to think that a phd will solve all their problems.
The best thing to do is keep your head down and teach. But it’s difficult when your classroom is barged into and your lessons interrupted by someone with
information commercials for your students, who might be busy taking a test or um learning. Or when your classes are cancelled at the last fucking minute, after you’ve wasted ages preparing material. Or your whole department is fired in the middle of a semester because someone whispered the “U” word. The message is clear to faculty and students alike: teaching is the least important thing that happens at this place.
In my packet of paperwork, there was some shady as shit piece of paper that I was supposed to sign, swearing that I would never talk about anything that happened at Fight Club, even after I leave and am no longer employed there. I am not signing that piece of paper. There is a fucking book in this.
I am rambling now and I don’t really know the point of this entry. I don’t know why I am so angry or surprised. How could I have forgotten? This place is the front line, the place so shitty that the fucking Ivory Tower looked like the best escape plan ever. I’m angry for me, and everyone out there in the same boat. I’m also angry for the students and their parents and everyone duped into thinking that higher ed is automatically the best move, or a stamped ticket to upwards mobility.
And I’m angry as hell that Monty Burns is able to make such a criminal profit by swindling so many disenfranchised young people.