For those of you that have or are working in higher education, you might enjoy this recent piece in Salon about academia making you an a-hole.
After several years in higher education myself, I won’t go so far as to admit it made ME an a-hole. But as a faculty member in a college of education, it did make me feel like a very small bump on a very giant log.
I was fortunate enough to land a tenure track position right out of a PhD program. I resigned after four years because I wanted to return to classroom teaching. Those four years in academia, in teacher preparation to be exact, made me an a-hole insofar as it strengthened my convictions against education reform. For better or for worse, it made me turn my ridicule inward because I saw how academia was powerless, at best, against education reform, or, at worst, actively promoting it.
In looking back at my time in higher education, and after three additional years of classroom teaching in a very challenging environment, I am fairly certain that most faculty members who tout their scholarship and expertise in education research wouldn’t last very long in my school. I think that means something when we consider the expertise and skill set of those deemed as experts in education.
If or when I return to a school of eduction, this recent set of experiences will no doubt make me a much more powerful, knowledgeable, and dare I say credible (?) advocate for teachers. Perhaps the strength of those convictions will make me seem like an a-hole, but I will quote from experience, not from T.S. Eliot.