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I Am India

dorindaBy Dorinda Fox

A lightbulb went off over my head the other day while I sat listening to the budgetary woes of an academic department during a faculty meeting. Dire solutions are needed for dire situations.

I am India.

Meet dire solution #1:

  1. The per credit hour cost for me to teach a course will always be less than the per credit hour cost of a full-time faculty member.
  2. I don’t get benefits.  Therefore, I do not complain when benefits are cut for cost saving reasons.
  3. I am not physically present to complain to administrators about office space, parking spaces, phone services, or copier privileges.  Administrators do not have to see me.  One of us would have to buy a plane ticket in order to meet.  I don’t want an office and wonder how full-time faculty can go to the same place and see the same people every day.
  4. I don’t have an opinion that I care to express on the following: the merits of linguistic theory a la Chomsky vs. Lakoff, whether literature should be taught through the lens of Shakespeare or Stephen King, or if technical writing courses should be taught with a focus on service learning or emerging technologies.  This does not mean I do not have an opinion.  It means full-time faculty do not ask me for that opinion so I learned not to care to express it.
  5. I teach my course in a specialized area relatively well. That is it.
  6. I don’t expect a promotion.
  7. I don’t expect a sabbatical.
  8. I am grateful.  I don’t complain.  I am rather like those older women Benjamin Franklin advised young men to appreciate.
  9. I am efficient.  I work every day.  I have to.  My continued employment is based on the most recent student evaluations or the latest two grade complaints by students. I have written a dissertation.  I make conference presentations.  I publish in academic journals. I try to keep up with the research in my field. Remember the Chomsky and Lakoff reference?  I know when one theorist is snarling at another.  None of this matters.

This was not a pleasant epiphany.  Epiphanies are not meant to be pleasant.  Ask James Joyce.  Epiphanies make one ponder, and I am going to ponder on this page right in front of the reader.  I will ponder with a parable.  Like Jesus.

I dread calling tech support for just about any service or product. This is because I know I am calling India. I show India no respect because of the scripted conversations I have been forced to participate in the past with deep-voiced customer service reps. with Indian accents, who ask me to call them names like Natalie.

This is a real conversation I had with Natalie last month when I had a password problem with academic email.

I know.  Tech support and pizza guys at 3 a.m.  These people tend to behave in a similar fashion.

I do work at 3 a.m.  I have a young child.  The house is quiet at 3 a.m.  I can think to write reasoned responses to student work and administrative requests. My students tend to often work at 3 a.m. so I am available for them.

Me: I am sorry it is late.  I mistyped my password and I am locked out of academic email.

Natalie: Are you a student or a faculty member?

Me: I am a faculty member.

Natalie: I will have to escalate your request to campus support.  An administrator will contact you through email in the morning.

Me: I am sorry it is late.  I mistyped my password and I am locked out of academic email.

Natalie: You will be locked out of academic email if you mistype the password three times.  How many times did you enter a password?

Me: Seven.

Natalie:  That is more than three.

Me: Natalie it is.  Yes it is.

When I am feeling like a smart aleck and forget that everything I ever say or type will be archived for an administrator to review should three students make grade complaints at the same time I rebel.  I refuse to role play with Natalie at 3 a.m. by playing along with the script.  After all, Natalie and I have just met. I provide nonsensical answers to Natalie because I have no respect for Natalie.

Natalie: You will be locked out of academic email if you mistype the password three times.  How many times did you type a password?

Me: I am a cow that jumped over the moon but stopped on the way to graze by the moon rocks while contemplating global warming made apparent by the changing colors of the earth’s atmosphere.

Natalie: You will be locked out of academic email if you mistype the password three times.  How many times did you type a password?

Me: Plagiarism distresses me.  Hinder’s new song called Strip is a blatant rip-off of the song Porn Star Dancing by My Darkest Days and Ludacris.  I saw Hinder perform it after My Darkest Days set and that was just plain rude.

Natalie:  You will be locked out of academic email if you mistype the password three times.  How many times did you type a password?

Me: I like cheese dip made with the white rather than the yellow cheese.  White cheese dip is more authentic and not nearly as Tex-Mex Frito Lay comes in a can kinda dip.

Natalie:  I am transferring you to my supervisor.

Me: Thank you Natalie.

A lightbulb went off over my head the other day while I sat listening to the budgetary woes of an academic department during a faculty meeting.

Dire solutions are needed for dire situations.

I am India.

Meet dire solution #1.

Full-time faculty often have little respect for me.

When legislators such as those in Wisconsin and elsewhere strip full-time faculty of their rights, then where will they work?

Hi Natalie.  Welcome to my world in which I have seniority.  I will treat you with the same respect you afforded me.

Ooops. Wrong story.  That is Cinderella after she married and had to deal with the wicked stepmother.  I tell my daughter when she hears a fairy tale that upsets her,

This is not real honey.  This will never happen to you.

Short URL: http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=1949

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