Saturday, October 22, 2005

Invisible with Justice for All

I am invisible at both my jobs.

Away from the classroom, teaching as an adjunct is very solitary. You don't interact with anyone except students and the occasional harried Information Technology person ["why won't my password work? Oh please help me."]

I can walk by someone, a person whose name I know and can spell correctly, and that person has no idea who I am. For a long time I used to say "hello" with a bright smile and they would nod at me, but now I won't.

These people are in three categories.

1) I don't know their names, but I see them in the hallways. Some are high up in the administration. They stride purposefully. We've never been introduced so they are under no social or moral obligation to speak to me. And they don't. They cut me dead.

2) Full time faculty people in the same department I work in. I know many of their names. Our names in fact appear on headers of the same memos. I'm sure it's difficult to keep up with the new faces every year and if I were in their place, well, maybe I'd be the same way. After all, this is only my FIFTH YEAR walking around the place. Occasionally they will speak to me at the copy machine, but then cut me dead later.

During one spring semester I taught in a room next to a gentleman who always wore rolled-up sleeves. He spoke to me pleasantly a number of times as we headed in to our adjoining classrooms and sometimes we even walked out together at the end of the hour. Months after that semester, I was standing in the hallway one day lamenting the fact that the department office was locked. I needed something in there and what was I to do? Rolled-up sleeves walked by and said "can I help you?" [full credit for that] I said I needed to get into the office and he asked me, "Are you affiliated with the English Department in some way?" Sigh. "Yes. I know you. I taught next to you last year, remember?" He did not. That was the last time I put myself out on the clothesline.

Two very agreeable faculty members joke around with each other frequently and I have seen them. I have even gotten in on the high jinks [again at the copy machine], but they cut me dead too. That one hurts.

Someone is usually teaching in a classroom before I go in. It's like being the next act on a vaudeville stage. There is usually a moment or two of pleasantry while one gathers his/her belongings to leave while the other settles in. I have met many faculty members this way and I can confidently say that none of them speak to me now.

3) Service and staff people. These people know my name and keep my mail file updated and my checks paid. Not only do they cut me dead in the hallways, they don't even speak to me when I'm standing right in front of them. I have learned that if they are talking about the Red Sox or Patriots and laughing and telling jokes, there is no point in saying anything. Even if you have something good to offer, they will ignore it. "Hello" is the only thing they will say.

ME: "Hello."
GIRL AT DESK: "Hello."
VOICE FROM OTHER ROOM: "Sara, I tried that recipe for applesauce."
ME (wreathed in smiles): "I made applesauce recently."
GIRL AT DESK: "Did you make it recently?"
VOICE FROM OTHER ROOM: "Yes, just the other day."
ME: "I made applesauce the other day and--"
GIRL: "What kind of apples did you use?"
VOICE: "I don't know."
ME: "I used Empire apples and--"
GIRL: "Do you know any good kind?"
VOICE: "I don't know what they were."
ME: "Mine were Empire--"
GIRL: "I wish I knew a good kind to use."

I've been thinking about walking around with a hand mirror. Every now and then I could put it up to my face and cry out, "Oh my god! I'm really here! I didn't think I was!"

This is probably why I have the Hannaford problem.


At 1:36 PM , Blogger Sandy105 said...

You bring up some interesting observations about your life as a Adjunt Professor -
I do not think you are invisible - but, maybe you are too hard on yourself -
Just remember, that when you look in the mirror - Remember, the mirror does have 2 faces -

Of course, "what keeps you coming back" -

At 2:08 PM , Blogger Becky said...

Hey Sandy,

Did you notice your spelling of "adjunct"?

At 7:57 PM , Blogger Sandy105 said...

Yes Becky - Man, you are a snob - I did notice the spelling of "adjunt" - I forgot my C -
Sorry about that - I forget that I am writing to the Apple and Spelling aficionado (you're such a bullfigher! - Oh ya!)
Love, Sandy
I will try to watch my P's and Q's - as well as S's -

At 8:35 PM , Blogger Sandy105 said...

I think it's time to go to the Cape!


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