I am generally a patient person, sometimes more patient than I should be. I am also usually optimistic about people's potential to learn and grow, which is probably a good thing since I am in the business of educating adults and since a good bit of my job also involves being on committees.
But darned if I'm not starting to believe that there are some issues that are black holes of dialogic suck, around which people are absolutely committed to killing the potential for learning and growth where it stands, and where any speck of patience is likely to be rewarded with a punch to the gut.
I refer you to this steaming pile of fail that posits that college professors do not work hard enough.
Others, including Zen, and DrugMonkey, and Crooked Timber, and Echidne, and Lawyers, Guns and Money, have gone into some of the dimensions along which the author's model of what's happening in non-R1 colleges and universities (and what, therefore, should be done) veers widely from reality.
And there's part of me prepared to jump in to lay out what kind of time it takes to teach college students well -- the time that is invisible because it happens out of the classroom, when we're prepping classes, and updating classes, and designing assignments, and refining assignments, and grading assignments in ways that actually provide students with useful feedback that helps them figure out what they can do better on the next round of assignments for twice as many students as the same number of classes had not ten years ago, and seeing students in office hours, and answering their emails, and providing websites with announcements pages and periodic email blasts to one's classes to keep them on track -- and these are just the demands on time and effort of teaching, not even starting in to what research and "service" activities or various sorts pile on.
But I'm not going to lay out all these details because the people who are reading David C. Levy's op-ed and nodding approvingly just don't care.
They will simply deny that my workload could be what it actually is.
Or, they will insist that I'm somehow exceptional and that everyone else in a tenured position in a teaching-focused state university is doing much, much less (and that those slackers at community colleges are doing less still).
But I'm pretty sure the ugly truth is that these people believe that my students, and the community college students, do not deserve quality education at a reasonable price.
And, I'm pretty sure they believe that professors at teaching-focused state universities and at community colleges (not to mention public school teachers, too) do not deserve to make a middle-class wage. Never mind that we sometimes work so many hours that it's hard to find time to spend it (for example, to get to the grocery store to buy food for our kids, or OTC medicine for ourselves so we can drag our lazy, sniffly asses in to class to keep teaching).
It matters not a whit to these people how many years we have devoted to our education and training. A Ph.D. program (or two) is obviously just a multi-year exercise in sloth.
Verily, to these people I and my entire sector of the workforce are a problem to be solved. We are doing something of which they do not approve, and even if we were giving it away for free and living on alms, they would hate us.
I can't argue with committed ignorance of that magnitude. I cannot counter such thoroughgoing selfishness.
So this time, I won't even try. Instead, I'm going to fix myself a drink, make dinner for my family, and brace myself for as many more hours of work as I can manage before my eyelids refuse to stay open.