One thing I've noticed since starting my graduate program is the difference between the good professors and the bad ones. Bad is a little extreme. Inadequate is more apt.
The good professors see and treat me as a peer. I don't know if it's because I also teach or because I am no longer in undergrad-land, but I am treated as a colleague, not a mere ... student.
The inadequate ones are so concerned with being the sage on the stage that they cannot see anyone that has a degree lower than theirs as being of any worth. They are generally more concerned with being seen as brilliant and superior that they fail to realize that their insecurities show their incompetence rather than what they intend - to act as Caesar's wife.
Why did this come up? Oh, my. Well, one of my classes has been a showcase in how a professor can make their piss poor planning become my goddamned emergency. Failure to proofread or check what they're posting to the web section of the course. And in this inadequacy, their solution is not to say, "you know what, I screwed up and did not get the correct information to you in a timely fashion so we are going to omit or shift this section until next week. I apologize." No, instead we are told to just get it read and be prepared. Less than 24 hours before the class meets. Oh, and then there's the excuse from the professor that s/he was "sick with this horrid flu" and the expectation of sympathy. Guess what. Our semester doesn't come to a screeching halt because of illness, neither does yours.
Thankfully, I am not the only student to have this series of bitch-rant-diatribes, so R (who is awesome and I suspect you will hear more about later) and I went on a complete bitch session after class. Of course, Radio Guy1 also happened to be around for a bit of it, and he joined in. He is going to be joining R and me for some "okay, now what the hell does s/he want?" sessions before the class meets for the week. Radio Guy did not hear the worst of it. R and I saved that for the library and when I dropped her off at home because I drove to campus today.
It just amazes me. The professors that treat me like a peer do so, I think, because they love teaching and that I share their love of teaching and wish to enter into their profession, they see it as a compliment, not competition. It's as though the inept ones are terrified that by opening the lines of communication, someone is going to steal the golden pub. Yes. I get it. Publications are vitally important, especially when one is in a tenure track position. But to turn that desire to produce quality work into a pissing contest that can only end in tears... *sigh*
I guess the old adage is true...
The reason the fights in academia are so vicious is because the stakes are so damned small.
1 My latest crush, and it looks like he might be interested as well. And R knows about the crush and has been ribbing me mightily about it for the past few days. Now that R knows who it is, it should get more amusing. It's all in good fun. You will also probably be reading more about Radio Guy as time and events progress. Unless he turns out to be a total wanker, and in that case, you're shit outta luck.