“You have to learn to be a good prison guard,” said my colleague after visiting my lower division class, but that is precisely the reason I want to leave academia. I am not interested in being a prison guard at all, and to the extent one is expected to be that or a social worker, or a parent … I am simply not interested at all, at all. I would be for having an actual program and official rules and expectations for multisection courses, which we do not have and which is why students are not sure what expectations are in each individual class. But I am not interested in thinking of my students as prisoners.
There is another issue which is that I fear these students. I would not fear them down at the corner store, but that is because I would not have to be treating them as students. These people are rough — oilfield roughnecks and Tea Partiers, with violence and hostility fairly seeping from them. I am not interested in being their prison guard, but being the nice teacher we are expected to be under today’s so-called professional standards does not cut it either. I want to be able to put them out in the hallway, to tell them to fucking cut it out, to say their paper looks plagiarized before I can prove it, and so on.
Ever since I became a professor it has been required to behave like a salesman and customer service representative, which is why I dislike teaching; now that we must also be prison guards I am absolutely ready to hang it all up.