Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Professors Want

Every day as I pass this bus stop on my way to work, I remember standing there during my job interview and feeling desperate. The entire campus visit was a huge disaster. It had been planned in two days and I felt tired and unprepared. The town looked way too Midwestern for my liking. The campus seemed bleak and uninspired.

It's funny how first impressions sometimes turn out to be completely false. In the 4 weeks I have been here, I have come to love this university passionately. The students, of course, contribute a lot to this feeling. For the first time in my teaching career, I have students come to my office every day instead of just showing up at the end of the semester asking "So what should I study for the final exam?" I always had to exercise enormous self-control not to respond "Spanish!" Of course, when you pay for your own education and can't rely on Daddy's trust fund, it has to make a difference.

Another thing that makes working here so different is the way professors are treated. At Ivy League schools, unless you are tenured faculty, you are treated as a nuisance that has to be tolerated. Here, we are a priority. Supporting staff and administration work really hard to make our existence as comfortable as possible. The Chair of my department seems genuinely interested in always finding new ways to make us happy and content. (This blog is anonymous and nobody at my university reads it, so please don't take it as an attempt to make nice with the administration.) I walk around the campus and finally feel respected and appreciated. This is a great change from years of feeling insignificant and barely put up with at Ivy League schools. For the first time ever, I actually understand why people buy T-shirts with their school's name and want to wear them everywhere.  


V said...

That's why I loved ISU so much, and why it was so difficult to adapt to Montreal.

Clarissa said...

I'm not sure I remember what ISU means.