Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hot for Teacher

It has been a couple of years since I took Mark's grandma to sit in on one of his classes. For no particular reason I decided to call up one of our wonderful Respite providers to watch the girls and attend an Intro to Polisci lecture with Dr. Mark S. This semester they had run out of regular lecture halls, so he's in a 900 seat recital hall built in 1917. It is complete with an organ, mahogany walls, a balcony, and is on the national register of historical places. Makes for an interesting setting for a class of 270 students.
terrible quality cell phone photo

much better official photo
Mark has made quite a reputation among the student body. He's a visiting professor and has been at this gig for 2.5 years now. Most likely this will be the last year as he's been on the market for a tenure track position and is currently interviewing. His students love him. They show it by giving him an excellent ranking in nearly every single class that he's taught. His classes fill up a speeds that baffle the admins. "You have to take a class with Dr S. before you graduate" is the word on campus. That has resulted in classes traditionally taken by underclassmen to be filled by juniors and seniors, and not just polisci majors. He's received recognition from the Greek system. Most recently he has received the Student Senate Student Choice Award for teaching excellence. There is a reason for this. Mark was born to be a teacher. It is his passion and he is really, really good at it. This is one of those rare cases when a career, skill set, and passion match up.

It has been a long hard road though. Salaries for a visiting prof are dismal and are made even worse when furlough days are implemented due to the State being broke and not paying their bills. Some people mistake furloughs (or as I call them F-Us) as just a day off. They're not. Although he is required to take a day off each month, the work load is no less. It's less time to do it in for less pay. Awesome. Yet, he still has a job, which is more than some of our friends can say in this economy, and we are grateful.
another official photo
So, there I sat, down near the front watching my man do his thing and do it well. Once in a while I would sneak a peek at the hundreds of students who actually appeared to be paying attention, taking copious notes and laughing at his jokes. It occurred to me that if we were to just meet now, instead of years ago while working in the record store, that I might actually be intimidated by this man. That thought makes me laugh. At the same time, I'm so proud of him and all of the hard work he's had to do to hone his craft.
After submitting over 250 applications in 4 years, Mark is interviewing next week (2/4) and any good thoughts you could send on his behalf would be appreciated.


gillian said...

I love this post! Will say a pray that Mark will get a great job. So neat that he has a niche.

Anonymous said...

Excellent...can you feel the vibes??? They are coming your way!
the prairie

Molli said...

Yes! Mark will get an amazing job! (Maybe in Oregon? just wishful thinkin)