Mad, Mad, Mad World of At-Will Work

Teachers Thrown Under the Bus, Parents Facing a Decade in Jail for Speaking Out – Published on Dissident Voice, by Paul Haeder, September 23, 2013.

Let’s call this adjunct worker looking for work, Chip. You know him or her – chip off the old block. He or she is looking for work, err, well, it’s a calling, teaching, and no one ever said you should get paid for a calling. A passion? “You pay, dude, like a hobby. Remote control planes, my thing, and, well, teaching is your thing . . . your calling. So pay, dude? Give us a break — no one said life was fair.”  He or she is past 40, could be mid-fifties, or even closer to hip replacement or amputation years. Forty or Eighty-five, is there a difference? 

It’s just some of the daily bullshit looking for work in the gentrifying Portland area, and you are getting closer to Alan Simpson (Repube-Wyoming) retirement age. You know, 80 or 81, that seems like a good age to start collecting Social Security (“har-har-har,” says Jon “Stewart” Leibowitz).

Old Chip might be easier to manage as she careens around in her wheelchair. “Stay home, log on, work at all hours of the day and night  (hell, you have to take all those pills at all those odd hours, anyway, so who needs sleep?). We will give you the materials to deliver and spoon feed to the supplicants, and, remember, this is a state you work in that wants common stuff to be processed as education. Do not deviate from the script, and no worries about packing a lunch and finding parking. Just deliver this pabulum at home. If you do your job right, well, students will give you a thumbs up, you will have no drops or failures, and all GPAs will be just fine and dandy. Keep doing this, hell, we might be able to get you more classes at $1800 a pop as you slide into your rusty years, in your nineties. Cuz, well, you’ll need it with ACA or Obama care, whatever version gets rammed down your part-time, at-will throat. Don’t dare give your little digital darlings anything outside the norm. This is college, mind you, the new force for turning kids into kettled adult infants. Subservient to the big eye in the sky, on the phone, in the apps, at every corner. We need more of those churned out so they can buy-buy-buy themselves into debt-debt-death.”

Well, this adjunct, again, Chip, just gets the stink eye from Human (sic) Resources (?) personnel ALL THE TIME, even to teach these video display terminal courses. This inhumane crew of folks, HR, who have zero compassion when it comes to individuality, and they are so disconnected to the mission of teaching and of being a student, that, they are the ambassadors of the Dean-let, the Admin-class of people who just can’t wait for the day when all collective bargaining is fin-terminated-done, when all teachers left are at-will, and when the 100-student classroom is the norm while they play with joy-sticks and iProds-Pads-Pacifiers, well, they are the leaders in Educational Discourse. Not trained to teach, not even the chosen field class of folk, or a class of folk  who have to think of it — working with students — as a “calling.”

But they rule the roost.

Get this: Chip has been begging to teach a class at one area school, and the end game is that Chip is what, too charismatic to teach on-line, and she is too real to be virtual, though that is not a problem for her since she has been blending teaching in the round with emails and on-line communication networks, also called Moodle, Blackboard, Angel, et al?

The problem for Chip – him-her-them — is ethical – does Chip submit to background check by said HR personnel when she is totally against this form of intrusion, an unethical if not unconstitutional intrusion which has zero to do with her teaching?

Sure, we have all submitted to Homeland Insecurity provisos, and the ICE crap of attesting to our citizenship, or “legal human status” before signing a contract. Chip, like many of us, has refused the idea of this bull, and refused literally the  process of urine, blood, feces checks, hair plucking, and personality quizzes and psychological batteries to determine, Gattaca-style, the worth of our bloodline and pedigrees.

I know I did not take the loyalty oath for the state of Tex-ass when I taught there. You know, swearing allegiance to Tex-ass, Bush, the entire petro-cowpoke-flat earth political system. You know, as a literature teacher, sweating to uphold the Tex-ass constitution and put my wit, mental faculties and physical prowess in the way of enemies of the Lone Star Racist State. I did not sign it, and I got some heat for not signing it, and, well, I hear stances like that in Tex-ass are as dead as Bowie is at the Alamo.

Things have just gotten worse, and since a majority of faculty are at will, most of which are in need of every last penny to pay for electricity and food, well, we have fear factor 999 to the fifth power. Add to that the careerists, the lack of a liberal class, the Dean-let thugs and Admin-People-Busters, and all those full-timers who have tenure and zero interest in politics and fighting for education, well, we are subjected to this HR-Admin class factor.

The Chips of the world get easily blacklisted for fighting the vanguard, questioning the bullshit data paralysis, and when they dare build a front against the death of academic freedom.

These people controlling the Chips off the Old Block have been afraid of their shadows for centuries, and the new serfs, the faculty majority, well, rag-tag, to be sure, and not our best allies … //

… (full long text).

(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%).

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