Monday, July 4, 2011


It seems that I'm correct in my assessment of what's happening at school. They are doing their best to thin the herd of full-time instructors, and replace them with part-timers (adjuncts), who work for much less $$.

I got fired about 2 months ago, and it was my own stupid fault. We were on a field trip to a computer vendor show in DC. It was light on content, I was bored, and there was a bar and grille next door, so I ducked out and had a beer. Like I had done at many a vendor conference before. Most expensive beer of my life. Drinking at any school function is verboten, and I was told that one of the students "complained", and there I went.

In a recent job interview, I was asked what I liked most about the job. My answer was "graduation". It is heartwarming and rewarding to see the students graduate. For many of the families there, this is the first person ever to receive a college degree. And it, temporarily, almost makes up for the chintzy wages.

The I was asked what the worst part of the job was - my answer was how instructors are evaluated on performance. Instructors are measured on two main things: retention, and student success. These are two things that no instructor ever really has any direct control over. In a theoretical environment where incoming students could demonstrate basic competency in the "Three Rs", this would be a sane and valid measure of instructor performance. Sadly, that often isn't the case here in the Baltimore area. Students get dropped, don't turn in any work, so retention and student success numbers are low.

The good news for me is, I'm more relaxed than I have been in about 6 years, my seemingly chronic gastrointestinal troubles have cleared up, and I'm sleeping much better.

I need to say this in fairness: it is quite possible to get a good, solid education there. As I've told my students many times, you need to show up, do the work, and turn the work in. It isn't rocket science - I worked around that for many years, and that ain't it.

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