Rate My JIL Hall of Shame–By Request!

This week’s Rate My JIL is a little bit different, for two reasons. First, I’m going outside my discipline for the first time ever, and rating two job ads in English. Second, these are ads brought to my attention by readers.

Yesterday I shut my hand in a window (long story, and pics once the bruises come into full bloom), so I can’t type with my usual ferocity. This is rather worrying in general, and will also make blogging rather difficult this weekend, as I attempt to save what finger dexterity I do possess for my remunerative writing projects. However, just like Kanye rapped through his wired jaw, I must rate these Job Ads through my black-and-blue fingies (“fingie” said, of course, in your best Tom Haverford whine).

Hall of Shame Entry One: A Totally Reasonable Teaching Load, courtesy of reader “C”:

Midlands Technical College (Columbia, SC), Full-Time English Faculty (3)

“Qualified applicants must be committed to life as a teacher-scholar working with diverse students and faculty, developing curricula based on current composition and rhetoric approaches, engaging students with innovative use of technology and multimedia, and participating in our department’s re-visioning of a two-year college writing program for the 21st century.” So far so good…

“MTC English Faculty  teach 6/5 (fall/spring) sections per 14-week semester with composition enrollments capped at 22 and literature surveys at 25, per NCTE standard.”


“…advise students, serve on committees, and engage in professional development (funds awarded annually via application).”

Exqueese me? Dafuq? I understand this is a community college, but I was under the impression that community college faculty are still Earth Humans, and as such these “teacher-scholars” should not be expected to shoulder a higher course load than most public K-12 teachers (most teachers I know teach 5/5), plus service. SIX-FIVE. That is what our world is coming to. And I bet they get hundreds of applicants.

Hall of Shame Entry Two: A Hi-Tech Teaching Portfolio from 2002, courtesy of reader “Y”:

Framingham State U (MA), Assistant Professor of English (TT)

“Semifinalists will be asked to provide a half-hour teaching DVD of one of their classes.”

The Impossible Tech Request: A One-Act Play on How to Reveal You’re On the Market to Your Current Employers

YOU: May I borrow a video camera and a PC with a DVD burner?

DEPT. MGR: Sorry, we just donated all of our obsolete equipment to the public high school down the street, sorry. Also, why?

YOU: Oh, no reason. Definitely not on the job market, don’t worry.

DEPT. MGR: Why can’t you just have a student film you on an iPhone and then upload it to YouTube, like a normal person?

YOU: Because the search comm–I mean, no reason.


11 thoughts on “Rate My JIL Hall of Shame–By Request!

  1. Outrageous. Just outrageous. Ask the three/four FINALISTS to teach a class, IF you MUST. But this for semi finalists??? As you’ve noted before, most of the the faculty in this department probably couldn’t pass a test with their current “demands” when hired (and, frankly, i’m pretty sure most would not pass it today either). This is a gratuitous exercise in abuse of power.


  2. Absolutely. As I posted elsewhere: the faculty members in these Search Committees are older and technologically defunct. Add arrogance, stubbornness AND fear to the prospect of learning new technology (they might look incompetent while mastering a new skill…gasp!) and *presto!* you have: 1990s DVD eccentric demand. One just knows the search committee (or at least the head honchos) are AT LEAST in their 50s.


  3. Framingham State has been making that request SINCE 2003. I applied for a t-t job there that year, and was requested to send the video (which I did). I was invited for the campus visit, where I had to teach a class, and was asked many questions about the video. At least they had watched it, but I was surprised they asked me things like: “what would you do differently to get Stu A to contribute to class discussion?” I found my copy of the tape (VHS in 2003) when cleaning out a closet this summer. I was happy to throw it in the trash.


  4. Any file that can be uploaded to youtube can be burned to a DVD without much more work. They may have a requirement that a candidate can apply fully using hard copies and only want to use one video format.

    And a typical California CC teaching load is 15 units. If the English courses are 3 units each, that means a 5/5 year. But it’s only 15 contact hours a week, 5 hours for service and 5 hours for professional development. The other 15 hours a week are for class prep and grading. And here we don’t have 14 week semesters nor are our class sizes capped so low.

    Trying to understand why someone is making a certain request might help you put together a successful application, and researching similar positions for comparison will help you spot positions that you really want to avoid.


    • I don’t have a DVD burner, because I have a MacBook Air. My machine at work runs Windows XP, because I am an adjunct. To burn a DVD I would have to go to Staples and pay a bunch of money, as my current department does not support any outside projects. Also, how would I get someone to video me teaching? I’m an adjunct so the school doesn’t pay for stuff like that, and I live very far away from friends or family, so I don’t know anyone who could do it for me. Also, what about people who, through no fault of their own, are unemployed and never had themselves taped teaching while they were teaching, because they didn’t realize Farmingham State U was going to have this verkockte request?

      I said 5/5 was normal in my post, both for CCs and for high schools. 6 is insane, and I stand by that.

      You know me–I believe having to put together a special snowflake application for a school that could glean everything it needs to know about you from a common dossier is ridiculous to begin with.


  5. 6/5 teaching load? If you need 11 courses taught in one academic year, you need to hire at least 2 people. You should probably hire 3. This is one reason why joblessness is so high–there are a lot of jobs out there, but employers are trying to get one employee to do the work of 2-3. Because people are desperate, they do it. But you’re working 80 hours/week, don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re working 2 jobs and getting paid for one.


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