Monday, February 28, 2011

Fingers Crossed

Upon speaking with my immediate superior about my reservations about changing the way we teach math classes for future elementary ed teachers, I learned that the department head is reconsidering.  Everyone who currently teaches the courses, and even a few who don't but agree with us, stood up and said, "We won't teach this anymore if you ruin it."  Before you all go getting excited about the power of the people and so on, it isn't our opinion that matters. 

What matters is that the department can't afford for us to decline to teach the classes.  We badly need both professors (PhD's) and full-time instructors (master's), but the university won't give us the money to hire more people.  Qualified part-time employees are scarce and can only work so many hours before they become eligible for benefits (read "more money" = "worse than hiring someone full-time").  Some of our part-time employees are retired teachers and have to limit their hours so it won't effect their retirements. 

To add to our manpower issues, each year, enrollment increases.  Yet the university refuses to hire more people to teach the masses or build new facilities in which to hold larger classes.  People retire and aren't replaced, so the department head pulls more graduate students (including yours truly) to cover the gaps.  However, there are already plenty of classes for the grad students, part-timers, and full-time instructors to teach.  For that reason, we can say, "Screw you.  I'm going back to intro, and the professors can have the upper level stuff," without any real fear. 

While that is mean, it's highly effective at keeping people who know better from making stupid mistakes.  We sent a clear message: if you want to mess with the classes we're teaching, you need to involve us in the decision making process, or we'll leave you high and dry mofo.  Important lesson here.  In a time of being understaffed, it's in your best interest not to piss off the good people already working their asses off for you.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that the lesson is now learned.       

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