Unexploded bomb, uncleared minefield. J. suggested I take bets with with myself and the Internet about whether I could keep my head together until my class was over. Seven classes remain; in my wisdom I scheduled three of them to incorporate movie watching and other undemanding activities; I suppose I could cancel one of the remaining classes if I just couldn’t get out of bed or whatever, for it is improving no one’s soul to take part in these halting discussions under my tutelage. In the end I don’t know why this job reduces me to such a lump of protoplasmI don’t do it that badly, it isn’t that many hours out of my week, and yet. Perhaps it’s that I don’t believe the inspirational rhetoric of teaching, that I need to find a job with less rhetoric attached. When I am grading, when I am walking to class, I hear in my head the El-P track where Cat Power stops in to be sampled: “Never againNever againNever never never gonna get that way again” When I have furious dreams about the job, they involve getting on a bus to go teach at the public high school in Tucson which I attended for two years and hated with all my heart.
Heard from my advisor the story of a professor who paused in the middle of his Nietzsche class to bury his forehead against the blackboard and secretly write “HELP” in tiny letters. Yet I have not been able to tell either my advisor or my father (another professor) straightforwardly what the job does to me. A complicated shame.
Complicated in part because it is surprisingly hard to discuss this within the environment of graduate school. It’s perfectly acceptable, indeed expected, to talk about disliking various concrete aspects of the job: the frustration of dealing with mercenary students, the humiliation of facing a roomful of silence, the laboriousness of dragging a discussion uphill to some point of abstraction, above all the stacks of inane compositions whose inanity must be entered into, verily relived, if they are to be properly corrected; and yet everyone is committed to a cutthroat struggle under dismal odds whose only possible reward is the chance to do precisely this for the rest of one’s life. Sometimes I think it must be a kind of Stockholm syndrome, rationalized with economic language: “I’ve already invested so much.” Sometimes I think I am just unlike everyone and ought to be put in a home.
I suppose "NO" betters stand to win a piece of your head. What do we "YES" betters get?
A piece of my mind!
(thanks for the bet)