Sunday, August 29, 2010

recuperate regroup & recoup

On Thursday the Chair of my department sent an email to me and 13 of my colleagues inviting us to a meeting with the Dean on Friday.  We knew it was bad news because not all instructors in the department of Foreign Languages and Literatures were on the cc: list.  The Dean waltzed in and said "There's no good way to tell you what I have to tell you, so I'm just going to be brutal.  The University has decided to enforce the letters you received in January.  In other words, as of January 2011 you no longer have a job at LSU."

While this was expected, it was heartbreaking to see all the people, most of whom have spent their entire professional career teaching Louisiana's students, grasp the implications of this blunt announcement.  The usual questions were asked aloud:  "What will happen to the students?" "Are we eligible for unemployment?" "What were the criteria for retaining some of the instructors?"  But there were individual questions that were left unasked:  "How will I make my house payments?" "How will I feed my five children and send them to college?" "How will my chronic health issues be treated without insurance?"

Most of us are in the same boat:  we were hired to teach.  We were not expected to do research and publish to keep our jobs. We taught onerous course loads and some of us taught a new class practically every semester. Our "research" was done to present the material for our students but it was never published.  This means each one of us will enter the job search without the basic credentials that separate the candidates into Pile A and Pile B.  I've been through this before:  No one will even look at my application and I will receive a form rejection letter.  This despite the fact that I can teach Latin and Greek and Classical Studies and German and I have experience in residential colleges, academic advising and study abroad.

I'm taking this weekend off to recuperate (I've been sick for a week) and regroup.  Monday morning will find me recouping my losses.  Words of encouragement strongly desired!

3 comments:

squirrel said...

the university will regret their decision. i can't believe they think this action will help LSU.

i'm very sorry to hear about this news. i wish you nothing but the best in the future. i still stand behind my statement that you're one of the best teachers i've ever had. it seems most unfair that the university is robbing future students from experiencing your classes and getting to know you. i'm glad i had the chance. no matter where you end up because of this, we will always keep in touch.

BakerGirl said...

LSU is digging themselves into a hole that is going to take a long time to get out of once they realize that they will never be recognized academically since they continue to cut and trim down the academics that make a difference in their students lives. (Not that I ever expect them to realize that)

*hugs*

I wish you all the luck in the world finding a new path...

Also, I agree with Squirrel, you were one of the very best instructors I ever had at LSU... Surely someone will recognize your passion for your subjects and hire you. You are one of a handful of teachers/instructors/professors I ever met/had who actually gave a damn about their classes and students. You're a rarity in education. You'll find a home somewhere, somehow.

russell said...

the biggest surprise for me is that the fools waited this long to shoot themselves in the foot. the more I think of it, the more ashamed I am of the administration that keeps exacting pounds of indispensable flesh from the university. when all they have left is petroleum engineering, biochemistry, and a football team, I suppose they will be happy.

all the same, I'm totally agreeing with previous comments -- you (and Spike and a few others) are the most amazing teachers AS WELL AS human beings that I have ever had the undeserved pleasure to meet. you can do (and have frequently done) anything whatsoever that strikes your fancy; that, on top of being able to teach multiple languages to people who sometimes are not even apparently conscious, makes me incredibly ashamed to have ever skipped one of your classes.

plurissimo amore scripto, harenasaxa...
-r