Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Professional -- the nature of me?

While I was in grad school, all I wanted to do was to teach. I thought the classroom was my space, and being at a "teaching college" was my gig. I got that full-time gig three years ago at BNCC. Maybe I got it too early, before my dissertation was done... before I'd written myself out -- before I came to the conclusion that the only people who read our crap are other philosophers and even then they don't understand it... so, writing whatever I was going to write wasn't going to change the world.

You see, after teaching 10 sections per semester for 5 years (2 elsewhere, 3 at BNCC) I'm kind of tired of teaching. It is the same old stuff over and over again... the students are the same, the problems and quesitons are usually the same (unless you have a class with the Russian in it.. then, nothing is the same) and the BS that comes from having a couple of hundred students doesn't change.

I'm also tired of the large classes at BNCC. They cause problems in many ways --- from not being able to learn student's names until closer to the end of the semester to not being able to really get to know both the high-performing and low-performing students to the problems caused by doing multiple-choice exams for philosophy (it should ALWAYS be papers..).

Those big classes also give excuses to bad teachers... and I have a hard time seeing what BNCC is doing to change the fact that some of their tenured profs can't teach. Going to "rate my profssors" is a sad experience, when a colleague has numerous negative reports and at least SOME of them must be true.

I miss the time and intellectual energy I used to have to work on my grad papers. I also miss the deadlines and other things that compelled me to write. I miss going to class -- and I miss doing homework... in short, I miss the intellectual challenge... because, the level of philosophy we are teaching at BNCC isn't intellectually challengeing... at least, the stuff I teach over and over again isn't. Maybe i need to sit in on a colleague's class next fall... maybe dog dad would let me -- we are peers in many ways.... or, maybe I need to register for a similar class somewhere in town that they don't know me...

Look at this -- I'm already finding ways to avoid the dissertation!

I would like my work life to look something like this...

Teach a couple of basic courses and one upper-division course. Write some articles and read some books. Be involved in college-life in terms of serving on committees outside the department, and NO DEBATE!

Resolved: I will do what is necessary to achieve my work life. The following are necessary to do so:
1) Dissertation, dissertation, dissertation --- maybe publish parts of it as smaller papers in the process??
2) Phase out of debate (former debate coach helps here, he's going to watch some rounds next year --- maybe travel with them a little??? maybe take-over at some point, sooner or later???????)
3) Departmental reading group... epistemology.... YEA!

those are the long-term goals (i.e. summer to November or so...).

Short-term goals: proof-read and submit area papers. As dog dad says, "the worst that will happen is that they'll say no and give you some reasons why, you can revise and re-submit". I'll do the initial proof read over the weekend and have them ready to send out by the end of next week. I swear I will... really...


T-Mac said...

No debate? Really? I thought you were really in to debate. We'll miss ya!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I do love the idea of debate -- I'm really tired of the debate community and don't love it enough to base my career on fickle 18 year olds who may or may not decide to do the work they've been assigned.

Moving to Omaha will be good, as Creighton's team is well-coached and nobody else in town has one -- I've already resolved that I've started my last team at BNCC --