Yes, you read that right. I’ve been looking around for a new work environment for at least a year now, and I have come to an unexpected conclusion. Until now, I have only applied to places where I thought, at least initially, teaching might be valued. It seems logical, but to my surprise there are problems with that line of thought. It seems that the places that claim to value teaching are, at least in my recent experience, also the places where faculty are treated more or less as children who must be overseen to the point of nanomagement (a term I just invented on the fly) on a daily basis. They must be told how to walk, talk, dress, and conduct class. They must be told what email software to use, what textbook to use, what facial expressions to use, and what word processing software to use. In short, faculty at these places apparently cannot be expected to do their jobs. As one recently retired dean put it, “We can’t expect people to just do the right thing.” Yes, professionals cannot be expected to do what they’re expected to do. They must be supervised, as I said above, like children.
So I’ve decided to try a different approach. I will now focus on applying to places where I think teaching will NOT be valued. If I get hired, I may be allowed to teach courses that no one else wants to teach, which is a good because it means I will probably not have anyone looking over my shoulder waiting for me to make a mistake and punish me for it. I will have the freedom that I’ve enjoyed over the years, until recently, to do what is best for my students as opposed to what is best for lawyers, students’ parents, or accreditors. I probably won’t have someone from another discipline telling me what my discipline is all about and what topics are appropriate for my courses. Hell, I may even be allowed to create new courses for my students without the local university system’s permission
A school that doesn’t value teaching may be a refreshing environment in which to work.