I definitely need therapy. Before you agree whole-heartedly, let me explain:
Being a teacher isn't all glamour. Oh, sure, students look at us as to gods and goddesses, casting light upon their benighted existences, but you have to understand that there's a fair amount of drudgery, too. Grading, for example. There's an experience worthy of Dante--I'm thinking at least the seventh circle.
Beyond purely academic tasks, though, we teachers have various other responsibilities. At the college where I teach, full-time professors are expected to conduct evaluations of adjunct (part-time) faculty on a regular basis. Every semester, I participate in two or three such evaluations. It's no big deal. Except in those rare occasions when you observe someone truly awful, it's a fairly easy and even sometimes enjoyable process. And when you DO observe someone truly awful, you have great water-cooler material, so, y'know, win-win!
Anyway, last semester, as usual, I did a couple of adjunct-faculty evaluations, and they were both fine. I submitted my paperwork and promptly cleared that experience from my memory banks. (Look, I only have a 32 Mb hard-drive up there, and 20 Mb are already dedicated to pornographic fantasizing; I can't just keep useless stuff floating around!) Today, though, I received an e-mail from the college's vice-president, thanking me for conducting these evaluations.
Now, I know, what you're thinking, and, yes, 40-something year old men STILL devote large portions of their mental storage facilities to pornographic fantasizing. But that's not the point! The point is, I have never before received thanks for performing this standard task. I attribute the note to the fact that the vice-president is new--she just started a few weeks ago--and this is the way she does things: She sends out thoughtful little letters (albeit of the "form" variety) to show employees that their services are valued. Nothing wrong with that.
And yet, when I received this e-mail, all I could think was, What's THIS all about? I've never gotten a thank you for conducting evaluations before! How am I supposed to respond to this? I'm perfectly OK with being ignored. But once someone notices me, they start to have, y'know, expectations. Today, it's gratitude; tomorrow, it's "What have you done for me lately?" And then we're well on our way down the slippery slope to chastisement and kicks in the teeth.
I told you I need therapy.