March 10, 2003

Ghosts in the Classroom?

Ghosts in the Classroom (Michael Dubson, ed.), a collection of essays by adjunct faculty, has been on my must-read list for several months. According to one (Canadian) reviewer, these "tales of the American part-timer reveal pain, sadness and rage," but "the overwhelming feeling that I got from reading this set of stories was bitterness." Which is why, I suppose, I am not quite ready to read this collection. I am trying to move "beyond bitterness," I suppose, and I must confess that I not always successful in the attempt. Perhaps immersion in such a collection could help strengthen my (sometimes weak and wavering) resolve to get out of the academy before it's too late? But at the moment, I fear it would only contribute to a sense of sadness and futility that inhibits rather than enables positive action. I don't know.

One thing I do know: I am not a ghost in the classroom. A ghost in my department? Yes, absolutely. I am invisible to most full-time faculty and also (and in practical terms, more importantly) to the staff who run the office, many of whom can never seem to remember who I am and what is my business and even what is my name. Does it sound too sad/bitter/melodramatic to say that I die a small death every time I feign a brisk cheerfulness as I explain to one of the secretaries in the office that I am So-and-So who needs you to please unlock the door to Office Number XXX so that I can hold the weekly office hours for which I am not paid? Something inside me feels like dying when that happens, and yet of course this is small matter, and just a tiny little "death" that is not at all a death, and something that would barely register on any just scale of human injustice and human misery. So yes, that does sound too sad.

And so I remind myself that I am not a ghost in the classroom. My students see me and know me. And when I am teaching I am fully alive and fully visible.

Posted by Invisible Adjunct at March 10, 2003 06:07 PM

I got over bitterness by writing an eight-voice multi-voice poem entitled bitterness&apathy.

I'd could send it over (once I PDF it, might take a while, I am very distyracted by the upcoming wedding) but you would need another 7 inorder to read

Posted by: meika von samorzewski at March 17, 2003 09:33 PM

Yes! by all means. I would love to read it. Can you send it in some sort of zip format?

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at March 17, 2003 11:47 PM