Red pens at the ready, friends, and I suggest you put some gum in your mouth to cushion you teeth against probably gnashing. Found this via here. Summation thus far: adjunct professor insults his students and feels sorry for himself, probably having been wronged by not being granted the fine success he deserves by dint of hard work and natural ability. If this were a piece of fiction written in the form of an article by an author who doesn’t really exist it would be a smart piece of social commentary. It’s not, though. I wish it were. The unpleasant facts shown here are inadvertent – the author shows himself up as both a reactionary and a very poor teacher by his own account, as well as showing the total lack of quality control in teaching where he works. Unintentional self-parody always makes me squirm, even by someone this unlikable.

Of course, I haven’t actually read the whole piece yet so I’m not sure what I’ll grade it. I started to read it, got angry, began skimming, will finish thorough reading later. The author, “Professor X”, couldn’t really object to my settling on a grade early, not consistently anyway.

He writes “I knew that Ms. L.’s paper would fail. I knew it that first night in the library. But I couldn’t tell her that she wasn’t ready for an introductory English class. I wouldn’t be saving her from the humiliation of defeat by a class she simply couldn’t handle. I’d be a sexist, ageist, intellectual snob.” And so, being no sexist, ageist, intellectual snob, Prof X simply fails his student. One particular irony of this piece is that the author never comments on double meaning in his phrase “I fail nine out of 15 students.” By this Prof X means he doles out 3 Fs for every 5 students. The other interpretation of this phrase is equally true, however. Prof X regularly fails to do what he ought to do for 3/5 of his students. But he feels a little guilty about it sometimes, really, in a self-absorbed and self-congratulatory way, and he tries to minimize his own responsibility by crying out that he has no choice, but still – guilt! See, he’s a decent human being. He loves literature. He wishes his students did too. (The guilt he feels personally is of course nothing compared to the guilt he bears judged according to a reasonable moral standard.)

I’d grade him an F for fired.

On the plus side, he doesn’t appear to be tenured.