Thursday, December 18, 2008

What a mistake

Oy. I had a new contract this session with another company. It's an old colleague of the lady who provides me with the bulk of the contracts I do so I figured it would be a similar kind of contract. Same pay, same autonomy and the guy was gay which for some reason made me want to work for him. What a mistake. Do you know people who just rub you the wrong way? It's not that they are bad or mean or nasty per se, just the way they instruct or express opinions turns you off? Well it was clear from the get-go that this guy was like that. From the beginning, he micromanaged the course. He would drop off reading exercises in my box and tell me to do it in class. Nevermind the 12 week lesson plan I had already planned, prepared, and typed out for the class. He's not in the class, so I largely ignored these intrusions. He flipped his top too when one of the students stopped coming to class. He told me I had to get on him and make sure he came to class. I said, "I called him twice, and he's an adult, what else do you want me to do?" He backed down then. Now that it's evaluation time, I dutifully filled out his forms following his instructions. The students are graded on attendance, homework, participation in class, preparation and execution of a presentation and a quiz and final exam. Well, I gave full marks for homework and presentation and then he left me this message. "Richard, I liked your evaluations except that we can't give full marks. I mean you don't arbitrarily give full marks because that defeats the purpose of an evaluation. I need you to do these again." Okay, setting aside that I disagree with his statements, I just have one thing to say to any manager: If you have expectations, you need to voice them before having someone execute the job and not act irritated when your mind wasn't read. All he would have had to say was not to give any 10 out of 10's. Another thing that bugs me is the talking to me like I'm a novice. Excuse me but I've got over 10,000 hours of teaching done now, so a little respect would be nice.

18 comments:

Mel said...

Why in the hell would you not give 10 out of 10 if the student had earned it? Sounds like grade deflation. An academic recession, maybe?

CoffeeDog said...

Like Mel, I don't get the grading thing either. Not to make light of your situation, but this sounds like a typical day at MY office. It's maddening, isn't it. And I thought you were more of a corp teacher, why does this guy manage your class to that level?? Doesn't he have a job?

Summer said...

It's hard to work for people like him. Been there. Sometimes I think it's a power trip. And if a person earns a 10 why can't they be given that? In school if you earn an A, you get it. Strange.

Anonymous said...

As a student myself I hate it, I mean really hate it when an instructor changes the Syllabus in the middle of the course. It should be a crime punishable by hanging. This guy sounds like a pompous fool. When he said I need you to do these again I would tell him I need you to go directly to Hell. ed

Birdie said...

It's all about control. He doesn't trust you to do the job he wants.

Years ago, I was promoted to become the company's first corporate trainer. I created the job when I saw what was needed. I loved it: the boss gave me a goal, a deadline, and left me alone to do it. Autonomy! After I had my daughter, I came back under the HR department instead. Same job, new boss. She was a micro-manager. I lasted 30 days and quit.

Polt said...

Just bitch-slap into next Tuesday. It probably won't actually solve anything, but it'll feel DAMN good to you. :)

HUGS...

Lemuel said...

Do you still have an ongoing contract with this outfit?

I agree with a lot of the comments here and with your own assessment. That kind of micromanaged control by an administrator was one of the primary reasons that I stopped teaching as of Jan 2007. Not only was she telling me what to do and how to do it (after my fifteen years of teaching the course), but her "suggestions" indicated that she had no clue as to the purpose of the course or the course outline as presribed and approved by our state board fo education.

carlnepa said...

I thought it was more of an American thing. I'm sad to see it affects our Canadian friends as well. The classic scenario in the US is to hire someone from the outside at lowball salary, overload them with projects, extract all kinds of promises from them, then have them "delegate" their manager work to lower paid people while they try to maintain control over all the minutuaie and make sure no one else gets any recognition or credit for the results. Just amazing.....When my friends at work become despondant and overwhelmed by this ever renewing cycle of stupidity, I tell them, "Remember, we do it for the money, not for the love".

GayProf said...

I am sooooooo glad that I teach in the context of academic freedom.

vuboq said...

My former company would also not allow managers to give their employees the highest rating on employee evaluations. It's the stupidest thing ever. We're going to rank you on a scale of 1 to 5, but no one can ever get a 5. Fortunately, my boss ignored that directive.

Patrick said...

Especially for something like homework and the presentation, where I assume the question was 'did the student do all the assigned work?' why WOULDN'T you give full marks if they did all the work? This is another drawback to freelance work, in my experience. We end up having to work for people who don't know what they're doing, and are too arrogant or insecure to acknowledge that... okay I seem to be heading off on my own little hobby-horse here, but let me just say I feel your pain. You DO deserve some respect for your level of experience.

truthspew said...

This is why a true contract is worth its weight in gold.

I do I.T. consulting work. My contract is admittedly one sided but if a client accepts he/she is BOUND by the contract and I'll hold their feet to the fire.

Mark in DE said...

If students get a score for each category (ie: attendance, homework, etc.) and a student attended every class and did every homework assignment, then they should get a score of 10 for those categories. Otherwise, you're telling them they didn't try hard enough eventhough they did all that was asked of them.

Patricia said...

I can't stand it when people have expectations that they keep hidden and then punish you for not meeting and/or exceeding them. You can't win.

la pequena retardo said...

It is beyond retarded that you are not allowed to give the highest mark to someone, especially when you feel they deserve it! Auschwitz is exactly the same way...you bust your butt for them and at evaluation time, they tell you that you're doing a great job but there's always "room for improvement" and therefore you don't get the highest mark. To counter this stupidity, I give myself the highest marks on everything when I fill out my copy of the evaluation. It counts for nothing.

tankmontreal said...

I wonder if his pissy attitude has anything at all to do with your teaching and grading. Maybe, as a gay man, he's jealous of you for some reason that has nothing to do with your work performance. He might have wanted to try to knock you down a peg or two; kinda put you in your place. Not very professional, but you know how bitchy some of us can be.

Roxrocks said...

Should have cockpunched him, he sounds like a douchebag.

I calls 'em like I sees 'em.

Snooze said...

He's an ass. Aren't you glad you don't work in one office and have a boss like that full-time? I only had one boss like that once but it was all day, all the time.