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Monday, July 15, 2013

Thanks, But No Thanks. . . .Seriously, NO Thanks

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.

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