Re-reading my old evaluations, the main impression is the extremity of the students’ reactions. Mathematically, the vast majority of my students felt that their writing skills grew under my guidance. That’s all ANY teacher can say. But not any teacher gets the types of positive reviews I get (like “most inspiring teacher in the English department” etc.). And not every teacher gets negative reviews like mine, either.
I once asked a colleague: “Do your evaluations upset you?”
He related a lengthy story about an ungrounded accusation of sexism, ending, “Don’t take it personally; their subjective opinion has little to do with you.”
And I said, “One of my evals said, ‘Charlotte Mendel is a mean and hateful person.’”
That just ain’t the same as being accused of sexism.
Anyway, today I had a meeting with the union and they say there’s no point going to arbitration unless I want my job back. So I thought about that.
I don’t want to teach because I was terrified the whole time. I always refused to work in retail because I disagree with the idea that the customer is always right. Dalhousie is like a nightmare where all the clients are 18.
In 2017 I had problems at Dal as well and I continued to teach because it was my bread and butter and it’s not good to burn bridges. In 2017, I recognized that Dal’s extreme vigilance over the behaviour and speech of their teachers sprang from a desire to rectify past wrongs. The twin colonial evils of greed and racism created behaviour so egregious that subsequent generations inherited the trauma and we must be vigilant not to do further harm. In 2017, my views were ideologically aligned with that. What happened was my fault because I wasn’t sensitive enough, and I took further training, made huge changes in my curriculum, and tried to do better.
In 2023, I repudiate the university’s ideology. In the global south today, food security is plummeting and starvation is rising because of climate change. Last summer, the floods affected 33 million people in Pakistan, with 15 million needing emergency food assistance. If 33 million white people were suffering like this, don’t you think our snail’s pace response to the climate crisis would speed up a little? Wanna bet that Canada would ditch Bay du Nord if those floods had happened to whites?
But wait, there’s more. According to Canada National Observer, “The usual standard of dividing cumulative emissions by the current population leaves Canada as the worst polluter in the world”. BTW, Pakistan is #158. That’s because you and me grew up with fossil-fuel heavy habits. Yet we know that our actions are contributing to the climate crisis. How to interpret this—our insistence that we have the right to continue consuming as much as we want—other than greed?
So greed and racism are still killing people today. Now, at this moment. The majority of Dal profs drive SUVs and fly to their holidays and eat beef. How can we justify a focus on past wrongs, when we’re perpetrating the exact same wrongs today? When our lens are STILL so distorted that we can’t minimize our fucking flying for a few years? Now let’s go pull down another statue of a past racist so we can feel virtuous! Or fire a teacher!
Of course, if I accept a settlement I’ll be sworn to confidentiality, so I won’t be able to tell you what happened. I’ll have to restrict myself to smaller gratifications, like last week when I attended an international conference on banking and fossil fuels. A Frenchman asked about Dalhousie, “How do you say da name of dis university?”
“Da Lousy University,” I replied.
TIP: Switch toilet paper for water, rinsing for smush-ing, clean bums for dirty.
How? If your shower head is fixed to the wall you probably have an empty jar in your bathroom already, for rinsing those places the showerhead can’t reach (at least if you’re a woman). After a poo, just sluice your anus with water while still sitting on the toilet. Use soap if you want a squeaky-clean bum. A couple of squares of toilet paper will suffice to dry, or a wash-cloth—whatever.
Global toilet paper production consumes 27,000 trees daily. That’s really the extent of my tip but I had a crap day and feel a great urge to indulge in the pleasure of pontificating about poo. So stop reading if you’re squeamish.
I travelled in India years ago (before I knew that airplanes spewed poison across the skies) and poos were my biggest challenge.
But there was always water, and a hole in the ground to squat over. So I got used to rinsing after a crap. When I came back, poos were still a challenge, because now I wanted to squat and use water, instead of smearing poo around with toilet paper. Since toilet paper is actually ‘smearing’, you have to use more and more, until there’s nary a smidgeon of poo left. It’s all smeared on the hillock of dirty toilet paper. The death of a tree for a clean bum? Well, let’s think about how clean it really is? In Europe and Asia they have bidets. Clearly, it’s cleaner to use water.
Not convinced? Visualize a little bit of poo sticking to your anus. Visualize it interacting with toilet paper. Now visualize it interacting with water. See? Rinsing sloshes the poo away, while wiping smushes it. Gross, huh?
Damn, this angle might just work. Nova Scotians care about cleanliness. If I can link an environmentally good habit to cleanliness—I’ll increase my chances of success. Nah, screw success, I gave up on that long ago. I just love talking about poo. I even love the word ‘poo’. In the days I loved my husband, I took proud photos of his poo, and still maintain they are unrivalled in the categories of Size and Smell. I could prove this by posting them here but I fear it could be used against me in the divorce courts.
Now for some stats about the vulnerability of butt hair when smush-ing…