Thursday, April 14, 2005

Yes, being a teacher is VERY exciting and fulfilling

A letter from Dean Butler and Dean Salovey:

As you know, GESO has announced that it will ask graduate students serving as teaching fellows and part time acting instructors to refuse to meet discussion sections, labs, and classes in which they have teaching responsibilities during the week of April 18. We thought it would be good to restate some of the guiding principles we share as members of the University community in the event of any attempt to disrupt teaching in the next week.

We believe that graduate student experience as teaching fellows, part-time acting instructors, and assistants in research is critical to becoming successful scholars and teachers. We expect and hope that each student and faculty member will continue to fulfill the academic responsibilities, including teaching, that each of us commenced when the year and semester began, not only out of commitments made but especially out of the excitement and rewards so unique to the classroom.

We also ask everyone to respect in action and tone the diversity of views that pertain to the questions before us. Whatever our differences, the privileges we enjoy as university students and faculty members impose very special obligations on all of us to sustain the free exchange of ideas within our community and beyond.

We regret the decision of GESO to engage in this activity during the final week of classes and will do our best to minimize any disruptions and inconvenience.

You know, I'm not even striking this week, but this e-mail makes me want to. Yes, teaching can be fun and fulfilling. But, in the larger picture, there are real issues at stake here, and withdrawing labor is one powerful mechanism for drawing attention to those issues. If we don't act now, that sacred commitment to teaching won't exist by the time most of us advance to being professors. Deans Salovey and Butler are demeaning our teaching every day by allowing for the proliferation of adjunct and part-time teaching positions while tenure-track positions decline. Thanks guys!


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