04 May 2004

timothy burke has posted a response to the imminent departure from academia of erin o'connor, the screedy proprietress of critical mass. (there's a link to her post in his, so i won't duplicate.)

there's an elephant in the room here, and it's (shocker) class, class, class. o'connor is going to go teach at a "small independent school in the berkshires." she kids herself that many of her students will be on scholarship; that they're not uniformly wealthy, that...blah blah blah blah. let me repeat: she kids herself. these kids are going to be either wealthy or exceptional. that's not bad; we don't dislike people for being wealthy or exceptional.

but if she's looking for a place that's less ivory tower than her current place (upenn), a private boarding high school is not it. o'connor goes on about the joys of teaching at the high school level, neglecting the reality that a private school does not actually represent high school teaching at all well. teachers who teach there are very lucky; in fact, teaching at a private school is handily analogous to the use of adjuncts in higher education. public school teachers do the hard work and get paid like shit. private school teachers get the gratifying kids and the small classes and the well-funded clubs and the living wages.

so she's leaving the terrible horrible abuse of adjuncts for another situation in which she won't actually have to watch the abuse.