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.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Different Rules

In response to yesterday’s post, Virtual Professor (Check out her blog) raised an interesting point. She argues, since we as teachers have paid our dues, shouldn’t we be playing by a different set of rules. To help illustrate her point, she explains that parents and children do not, nor should they, play by the same rules.

She has a valid point. She may very well agree with what I am about to say, but then again she may not. My thoughts on the topic:

Yes, we are entitled to play by a different set of rules. What, however, qualifies as a legitimate different set of rules? Parking spaces that are closer to buildings and not having to pay for parking stickers (or paying less) is fair. Paying less for meals on campus or having nicer dining facilities on campus for instructors is fair. I got my textbook for free and students have to pay for theirs. I have no problem with that (although I do have an issue with the ridiculous amount charged for textbooks). There are other areas where a different set of rules is fine, other perks as well.

What I try to avoid are doing the things I would not want other people doing to me in other industries. For example, if I am traveling and need to go through the security check point at an airport, I have to wait inline. I get frustrated with airline personnel who feel they can just cut to the head of the line and go through. As a result, if I am getting something from the cafeteria, I never cut in front of students who were there before me. If there are long lines and I can’t get the item and get to class on time, I wait until after class to purchase the food or beverage.

If I list office hours, I am going to be there during the specified time. If I tell students they will have a paper back by a certain date, they will have it back by the date. If equipment is set aside just for students (I may not think that is fair, but if it is done), I am not going to use it.

I am not sure how many of these things qualify as ‘Basic courtesy’ to Virtual Professor. I have a feeling a lot of them may fall into that classification and that we are mostly in agreement, but I do not want to put words in someone else’s mouth.

My main point is, we need to hold ourselves accountable to the same standards we use for our students. We should play be a set of fair rules, but there are times where we are entitled to some ‘Different rules’ as well.