Thursday, January 21, 2010

Anyone Can Teach!

That's right! Anyone. Well, that's what it seems like if you're staff at California State University Long Beach. Sure, at one point this state funded (are any schools in California really state funded at the moment?) university may have had its moments. But even when Richard Carpenter funded the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, he was wise in not including any remnants of the university's name in the building's obscenely long title.

California State Budget cuts are ruining my educational experience. Any class that doesn't meet enrollment requirements are instantly cut one day after posting if minimum class enrollment isn't met, so teachers are creating classes that draw in the masses instead of focusing on educational value.

Exhibit A:

I enrolled in a German cinema class this semester. Though the title sounds intriguing and possibly suggests a fascinating history full of rich background information, it's just a fancy phrasing for showing up for a Wednesday night movie club where we watch some lady's Netflix queue who believes her "passion for movies" qualifies her to extract meaning. She may have had some credibility had she actually studied film, not bought enough movie tickets to equal film school tuition, and she'd be even more credible if she had achieved her Ph.D. by now instead of putting off her dissertation for the past few years in order to pursue her other passion: posing for her webcam showing an array of bored facial expressions which she posts to her Facebook almost constantly. Maybe she can teach a class on photography in the fall.

Budget cuts and decrease in salaries have also led to an increased orneriness in the staff. Maybe some time ago education and thriving, diverse departments used to be a key goal of the university, but remnants of those happy days of yore are harder to find than the Holy Grail. Instead, students have been reduced to mere numbers and are one budget cut away from having our student I.D. numbers tattooed on our foreheads and patches identifying our areas of study sewed onto our shirts.

In fact, in order to KEEP students at the university, it has become widely accepted by administration, staff, and faculty to resort to belittling students until there is no self-identity left, from which they are able to mold us into the model beings they want: emotionless, passionless robots who care about nothing other than earning the school money and will bend over to take the abuse.

Why stay in a program in which department chairs continue to belittle its students and thrive off of becoming leaches that suck the life and drive out of every being it can? Because graduate credits don't transfer, I'm so close to being done, and I still care about what I'm studying: German language. Sure, the department is suffering so much it has practically disintegrated by allowing students in who cannot formulate one simple sentence in German. And yes, those same students are receiving the exact same credit for doing all of their work in English whilst I continually strive to better myself and improve my foreign language skills, but who will come out the better man? Certainly not the crabby, old German department chair who sends out mass e-mails every-other week to remind students he is the one with a Ph.D. and depreciating mind who has sold his soul for the ability to sit in an office all day and use his socialist scare tactics to verbally bash all students into submission and feel like he is a superior being, when in reality it is the students who remain intact in spirit that shall overcome in the end and who will, without a word spoken, become the superiors.

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Brandon and Erin