Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Academians are snobbish

Not all of the time.  But sometimes.  We (and I'm absolutely lumping myself into this high-brow bunch mostly because it seems to be the group that I self-identify with, perhaps out of desperation...) seem to think that once you teach a class, you own it.  Once you own it, you let others know that you own it.  Once you let others know that you own it, you "freely" share your wealth of information about what you own.  We're just kinda snobby with each other

You have to prove yourself with your colleagues, and it always starts with some variation of "What is your degree/experience?"  This is often sneakily hidden in a seemingly innocuous, ice-breaker-ish line of questioning.  "Oh, hi.  My name is Amy.  We haven't met before.  What do you teach?  How long have you taught?  I teach X class; please, let me tell you nuanced details about it that allows me to strut my academic peacock feathers (gender ambiguity, intentional) and then I'm going to make a slightly cutting remark about how you don't know what you're getting into [awkward social laughter]."

It's good to have an educational background that you're proud of because no one (bar none!) wants to walk around at conferences and the like forced to admit that they bought earned a degree from an online degree mill.  That just earns you pitying looks and even more unsolicited information about how you don't know what you're getting into [awkward social laughter].  For the record--I didn't buy my degrees.

It's also good to not make assumptions about anyone around you given their physical appearance, though frankly, I wish some of my colleagues of yore would head this piece of advice.  Just because I have 2 social left feet and do the wallflower shuffle more often than not, that doesn't mean that I'm a) inept as an instructor, b) desiring you school me in how I can be a better, more aware, instructor, or c) unaware of your awesomeness [awkward social laughter].  And frankly speaking fellow academic snob, don't discount what I say just because I don't have your tenure.  While I fully recognize and understand that we don't have to be bosom academic buddies, I also fully recognize and understand that I don't want to be like you, even when I have accumulated some more notches in my belt of tenure.  Oh please let it be known that I wholeheartedly try to not insinuate my experience on others when I sniff out someone less experienced than I.  Please don't let me be that academic shark. 

That being said (and not really directed at any one individual so much as my somewhat tongue-in-cheek observations on academics as a whole), always wear layers to a conference.  The room is always colder than you expect, and you're stuck there for hours.  A doughnut can only assuage the goosebumps so much (i.e. not at all). 

1 comment:

Jessica Dugdale said...

People can be jerks. It's a good thing you aren't one of them. :) (I'm president of your fan club, so I would know.)