Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

McDonald's And Teaching

So, the new study shows that food with a McDonald’s wrapper around it tastes better than food without it. Give a child two identical food items, even healthy items, but a wrapper around one and not around the other, and the kid goes for the wrappered item.

Is there a lesson for professor here? Is there a lesson for adjunct here? Maybe for students? Do you find the following to be true:

Is a student more likely to get a job because s/he has a college degree, even if someone without the degree is just as qualified?
Are students more likely to accept something because they hear it from a professor (or any teacher) as opposed to anyone else?
Are students and administrators more likely to value the teaching of a full professor over that of an adjunct?

I do not know the answers to these questions. To the best of my knowledge such studies have not been done. Still the "McDonald’s" study suggests it is a possibility. I do know that at times, I have felt the answer to the questions above are yes. I do know that at times, others I have talked to have also felt the answer is yes.

There are times when I think, however, that I am just being cynical and that the answers are in fact, no. I am not sure which, however, are my moments of doubt and which represent what I truly believe. It is like the parable of a king who dreams he is a cockroach. When he wakes up, he summons his advisors and asks them if he is a king who dreamt he was a cockroach or if he is a cockroach who is dreaming that he is a king.

Certainly there is a lot to be said for education. Certainly there is a lot to be said for those who teach students. There is a lot to be said for adjuncts and of course, there is a lot to be said for full professors.

What I choose to believe is, despite what kind of wrapping may be put on something, education wins out, as it should. The professor who truly care about their students, and this is certainly the majority, also win out. That is what is key. Students have to truly want to learn and teachers have to truly want to teach. If that is what happens, then regardless of the wrapping around it, everyone wins.