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August 18, 2004



Well, where I taught, when students saw "instructor" they thought "probably a good teacher". So maybe you're signalling some valuable information to them.


What a strange system! Is it common at community colleges?

Anyway, I'd be right there with you. I hate going through formal hoops to convince a bunch of people who don't know me how great I am. I do it when I have to (jobs, promotions, etc) but if there is no pressing reason, I'll just focus on doing a good job for the people for whom my job performance actually matters--my students.


All other things remaining constant, do you think that you would react differently if salary were directly linked to title?


Of course I would react differently. Obviously, I am interested in regular salary increases! What I object to is meaningless titles. I would be less inclined to reject the title if it actually conveyed something functionally significant.



I am about to be married.
A month after that, I will be ordained.
I will hopefully be done with the second of two master degrees soon enough.
Perhaps a PhD is in my future. I dunno.

The titles signify something here...change, weight of experience. I guess it depends if one believes that I should be rewarded or honored in any specific wy by virture of a title. I would say that on their own, no, the titles do not grant me special privilege. But they do give me the opportunity to live into something that I was not before them.

Husband, pastor, academic...the titles are a sign of a certain structure, of a role that I think is admirable.

Hugo, you sound like the type of teacher I would want to call "professor." I would want to honor you in the role. Does this make sense?


Thank you, AB! But the honor I crave is to be thought of as a good teacher, regardless of title. Still, I take your point. Thanks again.

Lawrence Krubner

"I like the idea of staying an instructor forever, because I like the idea of flouting a system I see as archaic and petty."

Good for you. If everyone stood up to the outdated and petty regulations and rules that they face in the work place, the world would soon become a much better place.


This is not an attack in any way, I’m just challenging you inner socialist. So if the titles were different, i.e., functional, then you might pursue one? Your inner socialist doesn’t like acknowledgement by title but is okay with it in the form of payment?

I know that you've written a lot on this topic. I find people who take a title they possess in the workplace out into the rest of their lives and expect other people to care…amusing, at best. But in the workplace, title usually gives everyone a clearer picture of what you do, something about your position. Rarely are they truly functional.

My slight objection is this…I have to use my title because white, male professionals (regardless of financial status/background) create an environment where they have the ability to casually throw around their qualifications while questioning mine. When this happens, I am not in a position to accept that this person simply feels privileged as much as I am inclined to believe this person to be a bigot. This is not accusatory. I am not at all accusing anyone, least of all you, of bigotry. I am simply stating that without knowing an individual, the perception from this side of reality is that they have a problem with me not a problem with their title.

Once again, Hugo, I only bring this up because you seem to like to challenge yourself and some times you write things that beg for another point of view. You write of looking beyond your own experiences, your own background, even your own gender in order to better understand others and yourself. That’s commendable. I would just like to challenge you to take a look at your “reverse snobbery” from a different angle.

Col Steve

I am simply stating that without knowing an individual, the perception from this side of reality is that they have a problem with me not a problem with their title.

I find it interesting to read this comment moments after an African-American woman colleague pointed out in the article referenced below that David Kay is called "Dr. Kay" by author throughout the article but President Bush, Dr. Rice, and Secretary Powell (Gen, Ret) are referred to as Mr. Bush, Ms. Rice, and Mr. Powell..

Oh wait..it's the New York Times..

New York Times
August 19, 2004

Former Iraq Arms Inspector Faults Prewar Intelligence

By Philip Shenon


At Bethel, "instructor" means "doesn't have Ph.D." When you get a PhD, you become "assistant." I submit bids for promotion because I DO NOT want to be a woman with the title "instructor" - very uncool in terms of respect from colleagues and students. And our promotions are tied to salary, so I can't get a raise without rank. (I'm associate now, up for tenure in the fall - tenure doesn't correspond to rank).

I enjoyed your post - I have similar sentiments (mixed principled stance and rebelliousness and pride) about lots of things, and you put it into words very well.


I like being "one of the masses". I fear becoming too separated from my community through any artificial construct. However, in your shoes, I would try to get the higher title simply because it would help with future advancement. In other words, it would look good on my resume. My reality is, I have to provide for my family like anyone else, and no one I know of any socio-economic status would forgo an such an opportunity in the name of class politics.

Lawrence Krubner

"no one I know of any socio-economic status would forgo an such an opportunity in the name of class politics."

Well, clearly you don't know many people who are committed to left politics then. The true-believers most assurredly forego income in the name of solidarity.

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