To quote the late Myron Cope, “Oi and double oi.” This has been a long semester. Thank all that’s good and decent that it’s almost over because I’m so burnt out I can barely stand myself. There’s simply not much fuel left in my teaching tank, and if not for the hope of the farm and a new life, I don’t think I could stand the thought of one more year.
I’ve written many times about missing the passion I once had for this profession. I miss looking forward to the work day, looking forward to the day-to-day tasks that I have to perform. Once upon a time, I got to design my own course my own way and deliver the material to the students in a manner that I found to be effective. The underlying pedagogy was that someone who had earned a Master’s degree in their subject should know that subject well enough to design a course around the material. Obviously, not everyone is a good teacher, but typically, those people weed themselves out fairly quickly. In general, the people who gravitate toward teaching are people who have a deeply rooted desire to share their love of their particular discipline, so those people typically take the profession seriously and strive to do a good job.
Then, several years back, the pedagogy began to change, and this new change is really a symptom of the larger issue in this country. For some reason, individual instructors can no longer be trusted to design their own courses. Self-sufficiency is frowned upon. Instructors must conform to standardized course designs that are developed by committees in bureaucratic offices far removed from the front lines. As with most things in our society today, the individual is being stripped of autonomy. This removal of self-sufficiency handcuffs those of us who believe that there are many ways to arrive at the proper destination and that one way is not necessarily better than another. In short, we must conform to an approach that may not necessarily mirror our individual strengths as educators.
Personally, I think that’s become the most prevalent issue of our time. Each and every day, we as individual citizens are stripped of more and more of our autonomy, and that is not confined to one party. It’s as if the underpinning of our democratic republic, that each person should have the right to govern themselves, is no longer relevant and that the liberties we grew up believing were ours no longer pertain to the vast majority of us, especially those of us who work for a living. Forget about Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal; the real battle in this nation is over whether democracy will survive or if neo-feudalism will supplant it.