I think I have to get this out of my system.
In an oblique way, my experience at the college where I teach is very political and this is related to how I feel Bernie Sanders and his candidacy is.
Hillary, Thump, and Cruz (the booger eater from the Republican debate) all seem weaselly mediocre, and more interested in getting elected than doing the right thing. A lot of times it seems as if they're trying to make it seem as if Bernie won't get anything done because he's pointing out what's wrong. I've even heard people claim that he's crazy.
However, Thump is speaking his mind about crazy crap that makes no sense and is inconsistent and people are praising him for speaking his mind. He sounds crazy to me, his track record is he's lost money that he could've kept from his father's legacy. He's preaching hate, marginalization of people of color and other religions. Basically, it sounds like he is anti-American and against the Constitution. He's just not in the spirit of what we were taught in elementary school that America is, excellent, fair, just, equitable, objective, non-bigoted. The white noise of the election combined with the fact that I've been fighting in a microcosm just a few of the inequities in my college and people roll their eyes at me and won't talk to me in the hallways now. So if I became a Dean, would I be like Bernie? Don't worry I'm not even thinking of going there I really want to retire.
I’ve been working at a community college for the last 15 or more years. When I started there, I was immediately hazed and given a crappy schedule and the other professors basically were just kind of standoffish or even nasty except for some of the really old timers who were about to retire and had worked there for 30 years. The same stuff I'm afraid will happen to Bernie, however, he's already had an excellent and effective record.
I thought I could change that. I think a lot of young teachers think that they can change where they work and make the place better. My goal was to make the standards better in my classroom, be more collegial, and, in general, put the students first and my ego, hopefully, second.
Over the years, I saw at the community college where I teach a hidden agenda of selfishness, envy, lack of professionalism, and social jockeying.
Last year, I asked the administration to help me out with getting some videos captioned for my deaf students. I felt I was also having some social issues with other professors. I felt like I was being bullied into doing more work without any help so I thought the solution would be to do a reality check and I asked the president of the college to hire a mediator to do an evaluation of our department. (By the way, I had invited the union representative to come to the meeting and she had assured me she would be there but somehow she forgot about the meeting. Therefore, she didn't attend.)
In the meeting, the head of HR actually asked me, “Do you have any kids?”
I was kind of flabbergasted and she went on to say well because I think you may be focusing on your job too much."
There’s more to it but it’ll just sound like a complainer if I keep going.
I was told that they don't have enough money to do that at our school. So, I decided to focus on the most important issue that was related to students who were marginalized or ignored. The population of deaf students at Ohlone. I had had over 150 videos that the school that asked me to make about art history for my students and I have been unable to get anybody in the office that handles captioning to even caption one in the last five years.
So that point I decided to just focus on getting my videos captioned for the students. I waited another six months and when I can get responses about it I contacted the board of Ed in San Francisco and their legal apparatus. I sent out an email to the entire campus explaining what the situation was and asking if anybody wanted to help me with this project. I got emails back from six or seven professors commiserating with me about the lack of support for deaf students. A couple of them mentioned the irony of the fact that we have a large sign language program and deaf studies program at Ohlone. Another two emails I got were from my union rep and another professor and both of them had the same thing to say, I’m paraphrasing here, “I’m afraid that we might lose our jobs if we have a complaint like this.”
Finally, I got a response back from the legal side of the board of Ed in which they were going to take action. Once the school was threatened, (it’s against the law for any school to not be in compliance with the ADA.) my videos were captioned, a few weeks after the semester had begun, and I was able to catch the deaf students up that I had with them.
As I walked across campus on the first days of campus life during the semester several faculty would not look at me or say hello. At the first faculty meeting, one of the professors in my department began to complain about the process of filling out the forms and providing transcripts to the school to get the videos done. She complained, "It's unfair and it's just too much work!
I blurted out, “Hey if you would help me with this we wouldn’t have this problem.” I couldn't help it and I knew that it made me look bad. The air was sucked out of the room and both of these professors looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
I feel like I'm back in high school and it sucks. Remember Pres. Reagan and his trickle-down theory? Maybe it's true and stuff does trickle down from the top. If you are an administrator or president the decisions you make affect everybody in your constituency. Stand up for what's right.
Vote for Bernie it might make a difference if the head of the country is a fair and ethical man.
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