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Reassigned Time: Teaching As a Job – What I Wish I’d Learned in Grad School

August 3, 2006

Dr Crazy, in her newly designed threads, has picked up a call for responses for the Teaching Carnival #11. In it Dr. Crazy recalls her graduate education, ending with the following:

I suppose that at the end of the day I’d say the biggest problem with the way that graduate schools train English Literature PhDs to teach is that they don’t train them to do the jobs that they will be hired to do. They train them to do the work that the PhD-granting institution needs them to do. That’s not about training the next generation of professors – that’s about training the current generation of exploited and contingent labor.

From my own training and experience (we had a one-week training camp the week before school started to teach us to teach Comp–after which we were on our own, attending a Friday-morning break-out), Dr. Crazy speaks the truth.

I see nothing changing, though. The dynamics in place ensure that those in power (admin, tenured, etc.) make it difficult for the others to come into their own place. After all, it was hard for them. The cycle of hazing continues.


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