I work at colleges of last resort. For many of my students, college was not a goal they spent years preparing for, but a place they landed in. Those I teach don’t come up in the debates about adolescent overachievers and cutthroat college admissions.
… But my students and I are of a piece. I could not be aloof, even if I wanted to be. Our presence together in these evening classes is evidence that we all have screwed up. I’m working a second job; they’re trying desperately to get to a place where they don’t have to. All any of us wants is a free evening.
In an era of "tweets" limited to 140 characters, it refreshing to return to power of long-form writing. "In the Basement of the Ivory Tower" (The Atlantic / June 2008) details the struggle of the adjunct college lit teacher in the lower reaches of academia.