Sunday, September 19, 2021
HomePatriot DispatchesFrom a soon-to-be former Public Employee, not a Worker; a Rant.

From a soon-to-be former Public Employee, not a Worker; a Rant.

Let me briefly introduce myself: I’m a military retiree who has, for the past 10 years, been teaching part-time at a local community college to augment my service pension. I’m giving it up at the end of this semester and will be full time on-the-dole.

I despise the noun “worker” because of it’s Communist aftertaste. I’ve never considered myself a “worker”; a serviceman, even an employee is OK, but never a “worker”. Sure, what I do is work, that’s why I’m paid to do it, but I don’t consider myself a “worker”. ‘Nuff said.

So, why my decision to retire-retire? Getting too old? Partly. Tired of the routine? Partly. Gas too expensive for the 70 mile commute? Partly. Student’s entry-level knowledge and motivation circling the drain? Partly.

But the real reason is growth of the Beast. Yes, the little community college has expanded enormously during my tenure. Many more students, many more courses, many more buildings, teachers, stuff.

When I began teaching, my boss was called a Division Chair, in charge of full & part time instructors covering several disciplines. Over time, the Division Chair became an Associate Dean, then a (full) Dean. Same job description, better title, more teachers to hire, schedule & supervise, more salary. All well and good.

In reality, the secretary has always handled the class scheduling, the bulk of the job. Hiring & supervision boils down to observing each teacher’s class every couple years, and occasionally interviewing those who expressed interest in teaching. That, and mediating student complaints, which happens a few times per decade.

As the job-title escalated, more effort seemed to go into researching the whichness-of-what, how-high-is-up kind of thing, trying to measure the unmeasurable, how well students are actually learning. That and ever more mindless paperwork. And meetings. Self-assessments. Reflections (WTF?). Sharing. ARRGHH!

Here’s what drove my decision to leave: when they started hiring Division Chairs and Associate Deans to work for the Dean, who used to be a Division Chair or Associate Dean. More layers of middle management. Your education dollars at work; let’s send more Federal money to those wonderful community colleges!

Don’t get me wrong; back in the day I was what you call a Business Major. I understand things about span of control. Additionally, I made it to middle management myself in the USAF. I know how it works.

But I’ve had about 40 years to observe and participate in organizational expansion. What happens when government grows middle-management is that the new middle-managers, being sharp, intelligent folks, have to find a way to justify their (large) salaries, while building their resumes. Remember, the basic duties haven’t really changed or increased all that much, if you actually WORK at it 40 hours a week. So the new guys devote an inordinate amount of time and energy coming up with shiny new rules, guidelines, checklists, requirements, processes, templates and methods, none of which actually improve what we’re here for: student learning.

They also tend to schedule and attend a lot of meetings. A lot. And talk. And write memos. And emails. Endlessly.

Since I originally hired in to teach people how to do things they could use to earn money, I’m unimpressed with the newly created administrative overhead. It saps my time and energy, which is supposed to be student-focused. I guess I’m just too old-school, literally.

I, and a couple of colleagues, have done the math and determined we’re earning, given all the hours devoted to our classes and other stuff, about $4.00/hour. Seriously. So, taking all of the above into consideration, I quit. Life’s too short. More Precinct Committeeman and motorcycling time for me!

BTW,  part-time instructors actually have a teacher’s union here, which I never joined, seeings the dues go to support demon-Democrats. But I was still able to reap the terrific benefits they fought for and won, like a paid sick-day per semester. Which I’ve used maybe 4 of over the last 10 years. Yep, I truly regret not having paid all those union dues (/sarc).

Rant over. Y’all have a great day! And cheers!

10 COMMENTS

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10 COMMENTS

  1. 20 years ago in Texas there were 2 classroom teachers for each admin/support person. Today, it’s 1 for 1.

    With serious budget issues, schools are having to cut back deeply. You guessed it, they are planning to lay off teachers.

    Don’t blame you for leaving it behind. Enjoy.

  2. I know the feeling big fella’.
    It get’s to the point where you are muttering to yourself on the way to work and doing it on the ride home.
    It’s hard to work somewhere when you have to pretend all day long that you respect your co-workers.
    Life is too short.

  3. Thanks folks for all the good wishes! I’m indeed anticipating my upcoming ‘time off for good behavior’ and continue to plot the use of my new found productivity. If the Other Side thinks I’ve become a little thorn in their side over that last couple years, they’ve now got another think coming!

    • Heh. Methinks that if the Other Side were to figure out what’s coming at ’em, there would be a promotion/pay raise in your immediate future!

      Congratulations on the re-retirement. Hope this means there will be even more of your good writing here at UP.

  4. Congratulations, mriggio! Yes, a lot of “back to the basics” is going to have to occur in this country before it gets “right” again. As long as there are government dollars flowing in, bureaucracy expands.

    If you get to missing the young people, you could always check into doing some part-time teaching in the private/parochial schools. They do so much more with so much less. 🙂

  5. Congratulations on your second retirement Mark.

    My favorite local communist (his description) sociology professor claimed that adjuncts make less than minimum wage. I had figured it closer to $13.00/hour assuming 6 hours/week per 3 hour section but with your figure at $4.00/hour and all the extra meetings and paperwork, maybe he was right after all.

    P.S. ICC is much closer to you than Heartland and would use less gas. I also hear they’re “always” looking for people to teach entry level computer classes and the Microsofty stuff. If you get bored after a semester or 2 in full retirement, maybe a place a little closer to home would work out for you. The bennies are just as weak though. If I get on the board, I’ll try to keep the overhead crap to a minimum.

  6. Thank you again Kimberly, LadyP and Brian. And Brian, you know you already have our household’s vote all sown up!

    It pains me to agree with any commie, but the lower dollar amount is likely correct, subject to a ton of variables: how long one’s taught the course, new textbook or not (usually is, another racket I may explore later), revisions to course management software/syllabus requirements, class enrollment size, plus the overhead ‘crap’ (love your phrase-ee-ology!).

    I originally started teaching @ ICC and left because of too much bureaucracy. Layer upon layer upon layer…

  1. 20 years ago in Texas there were 2 classroom teachers for each admin/support person. Today, it’s 1 for 1.

    With serious budget issues, schools are having to cut back deeply. You guessed it, they are planning to lay off teachers.

    Don’t blame you for leaving it behind. Enjoy.

  2. I know the feeling big fella’.
    It get’s to the point where you are muttering to yourself on the way to work and doing it on the ride home.
    It’s hard to work somewhere when you have to pretend all day long that you respect your co-workers.
    Life is too short.

  3. Thanks folks for all the good wishes! I’m indeed anticipating my upcoming ‘time off for good behavior’ and continue to plot the use of my new found productivity. If the Other Side thinks I’ve become a little thorn in their side over that last couple years, they’ve now got another think coming!

    • Heh. Methinks that if the Other Side were to figure out what’s coming at ’em, there would be a promotion/pay raise in your immediate future!

      Congratulations on the re-retirement. Hope this means there will be even more of your good writing here at UP.

  4. Congratulations, mriggio! Yes, a lot of “back to the basics” is going to have to occur in this country before it gets “right” again. As long as there are government dollars flowing in, bureaucracy expands.

    If you get to missing the young people, you could always check into doing some part-time teaching in the private/parochial schools. They do so much more with so much less. 🙂

  5. Congratulations on your second retirement Mark.

    My favorite local communist (his description) sociology professor claimed that adjuncts make less than minimum wage. I had figured it closer to $13.00/hour assuming 6 hours/week per 3 hour section but with your figure at $4.00/hour and all the extra meetings and paperwork, maybe he was right after all.

    P.S. ICC is much closer to you than Heartland and would use less gas. I also hear they’re “always” looking for people to teach entry level computer classes and the Microsofty stuff. If you get bored after a semester or 2 in full retirement, maybe a place a little closer to home would work out for you. The bennies are just as weak though. If I get on the board, I’ll try to keep the overhead crap to a minimum.

  6. Thank you again Kimberly, LadyP and Brian. And Brian, you know you already have our household’s vote all sown up!

    It pains me to agree with any commie, but the lower dollar amount is likely correct, subject to a ton of variables: how long one’s taught the course, new textbook or not (usually is, another racket I may explore later), revisions to course management software/syllabus requirements, class enrollment size, plus the overhead ‘crap’ (love your phrase-ee-ology!).

    I originally started teaching @ ICC and left because of too much bureaucracy. Layer upon layer upon layer…

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