So I have a dilemma…
Last year, I started team-teaching a course over at the University in technology development and feasibility analysis, a subject I know quite a bit about.
My colleague, “Dave”, and I taught the seminar together last year. Dave is the director of the program, about the same age as I am, and his skill set complements mine well. We played extremely effectively off each other last year, and I think the result was that the students enjoyed the class and learned a lot.
It’s time to re-sign for this year, and I walked into my curriculum planning meeting on Friday full of ideas. I wanted to re-arrange some of the class elements so they built on each other better, and I wanted to add a new section on market segmentation.
By the time I left, I wasn’t so sure I even wanted to do this again this year.
Toward the end of autumn semester last year, Dave hired a new teacher, “Henry” to join the program on a more-time-than-me basis. Henry apparently taught the second class in the series during spring semester. Henry is a retired CEO, late 60s, military haircut, whose first discussion with me centered around his contention that I was full of hooey regarding whether medical method patents can be enforced in the US. I wasn’t wrong, and I very promptly set him, and my at-that-point-confused students, straight.
Don’t get me wrong; he’s a smart guy. He knows a lot about how a run a business. I think he’s probably a great advisor for start-up companies. But he’s a terrible teacher. Like, I had every one of his students in my office last semester complaining about his lack of skill and preparation (there was no syllabus published until week 8 of the semester), subjectivity of his grading, and his overall very demeaning attitude toward his students. I did, in fact, suggest to two of them that a call to the ombudsman’s office was probably an appropriate next step.
(There is no real correlation between this post and this picture, except that it made me laugh when I saw it.)
Friday, I learned that I have to teach this class, not with Dave, but with Henry. And I have to say, the rest of the meeting on Friday didn’t raise my opinion of Henry a bit. He treated me like someone he clearly doesn't respect, and even made a couple of flippant remarks about – of all things – my being left-handed. (To which I replied, “Why Henry, how very 19th century!”). At one point, he got under my skin so bad, I turned to him, laughing, and said, "Henry, seriously; you and I are about five minute from going to the mat."
So now I’m torn. I love teaching this class. Love the subject matter. Love the students. But I don’t love this guy. I’m at that point in my life where I don’t necessarily feel like I have to be respected by everyone – if you think I’m a dork, I’m OK with that. But I’m also at a point in my like where I don’t have to choose to hang around with people who treat me like a dork.
And I was really looking forward to this.