While the response hasn’t been overwhelming in the comments on my last post, it certainly has been widely tweeted and retweeted on Twitter and anecdotally I know that many, many professors (on and off the tenure track) have shared the piece. Please keep spreading the word, so we can really have a wide variety of academics and experiences on Monday.
I’d like to thank Aeron Haynie over at Mama PhD for the shout-out (along with another great response linked in the comments). Teaching is under attack, no doubt. I made the off-handed comment in my last post that when they came for the k-12 teachers, we did nothing. Since I sat in on a few high school classes, I have to admit that I have a new-found respect for what teachers in the k-12 system have to deal with, and I’m not talking about the kids. If anything good can come out of the increasing attacks on professors and our teaching is hopefully a new-found solidarity with the teachers in the k-12 system.
(And, let’s just point out the irony in attacking professors for being bad teachers because they don’t have any training in pedagogy and focus too much on research, but then turning around and bashing k-12 teachers for having too much.)
The other issue is how we can get the message out to media outlets that aren’t focused on higher education? That, I’m not sure. I want, as I said in the comments of Haynie’s post, to use the materials that we collect on the #dayofhighered to craft and compose responses to the op-eds that would portray us as lazy and overpaid. It’s also college admissions time, the perfect time to strike and get the word out about where students’ tuition is really going (not in the pockets of professors).
I also want other professors to do the same; take what is shared on Monday and craft your own response to attacks that may take place locally. I don’t know how to respond to the particular problems in Wisconsin, but hopefully having both a local perspective with narrative from across the nation will lead to change.
I teach my students how to craft arguments. We have the facts, stats, and numbers, but we’ve been missing the narrative component. Hopefully, after Monday, we’ll have one, along with a couple of hundred (thousand?) first-person accounts to go with it.