Roller Coaster Ride

A couple of days ago, someone sent them a link to a video called The Blue Ribbon. I have seen this before, but it was some time ago. It gets a bit sentimental toward the end, but the point is made and there are analogies to be made besides. Here is the link.

I sent the link to all of the students through our Yahoo group with the message that they may not hear it all of the time, but they each deserve a Blue Ribbon and I am giving them one from me.

Regardless of how frustrated I may feel at times with their seeming lack of dedication to their academic work, I have to pull back and realize that most of them are taking two majors and more courses than is really humane. By giving them all of the support they need or want, they aim higher at pleasing me.

The next day, I received this e-mail from a former student. I have not seen her for a year.

Dear Dr. James!
Thank you for this e-mail and this video! And I would like to tell you, that you were the only one in the last three years who really cared about how we imporve, what and how we do!
And it means a lot to me since I’ve learned a lot of things from you according to my thinking or my attitude towards life.
Thank you again for making this day different from any others!

Only minutes later, I received an e-mail from my department head that stated the native speaker positions were at risk of being lost. However, she thought the proposal I had made to establish a writing center was a brilliant idea and would champion the cause. One minute I am higher than a kite and sobbing like a child over the lovely note I received from a student telling me what a difference I have made, and then, another telling me my position is at risk. What a schizophrenic situation it is here.

Now I have been deemed responsible for creating a sub-specialty within the American Studies department dubbed “Journalism, Media Studies, and Academic Writing” creating courses to account for 50 credits. Although I love challenges, this is a grand task for a university that cannot afford the subscriptions of databases for research and has no media of its own for classroom use, and no money to supply the needs of the curriculum.

After six years, I am now in fear of losing my job. What is even more infuriating is the fact that since I am not a Hungarian, I can not move up the ladder beyond Lektor, yet get the responsibilities of someone with a much heftier salary.