Sunday, April 29, 2007

Same campus, different planets

Scene 1: On campus, I run into a male colleague from another department that I haven't seen in months. Small talk ensues.

Jane: Oh, congrats on getting tenure!

Colleague: Thanks! You know, the process was really great overall. Very transparent, you know. My department let me know what was going on every step of the way, ... [prolonged gushing ensues about what an uplifting experience the tenure process was for this person and the joys of working in this particular department]

Colleague stops in mid-sentence after noting the look---of horror? disbelief? despair?---on Jane's face. (Jane has many good qualities; a poker face is not one of them.)

Colleague: [stammering] Um, of course, every department is different and such...and I'm incredibly lucky, I guess... [mumble mumble]

Scene 2: On campus again, at lunch with colleagues from various departments.

Male Colleague #1: [Launches into story about a female colleague's recent bad experience with a disgruntled student who didn't like the grade he received in her class.] ... And of course, the student immediately blamed the bad grade on Female Colleague's teaching.

Jane: Oh, how terrible! Sounds a lot like my experience with Student From Hell a while ago.

MC #1: Yeah. You know, in all my years of teaching, I've never had a student call my teaching into question over a bad grade. Or anything else, for that matter.

Jane: It's not fun when it happens.

MC #1: Not to mention not fair! You know, it really opened my eyes.

Male Colleague #2: Oh, that's happened to me before, too.

Everyone turns to face MC #2.

Jane: It has?

MC #2: Sure! I've had plenty of students ask me to regrade things.

Jane stares at MC #2 incredulously. She wonders if it's possible to anonymously send him this.

MC #1: Er...we're really talking about something completely different here, you know.

MC #2: [Blissfully unaware, launches into a story about regrading, completely missing the point.]

Sometimes I wonder what color the sky is on the planet on which my male colleagues live. And if their campus planet has better food in the vending machines.

1 comment:

Flicka Mawa said...

Ah, nice post. I feel like the male professors in my department would be like MC #2. I once had a long discussion with one of them, who saw family friendly policies as special treatment and just couldn't understand why they would be worthwhile, when it had been so hard for him too and he's a white male. Whine, was one of those conversations where the other person claims to be open to new ideas and discussion, but really is not.