A How To Guide

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Image description: A person hiding behind a stack of books

I’m a precariously employed academic teaching a bunch of courses online in the midst of COVID-19. I don’t have a lot of time to write a long essay about how and why we should talk to our students about student evaluations of teaching, but here’s something quick and dirty you can use this academic term. Yes, this academic term, even next week or the week after!

I’m writing this to you, my fellow instructors, because I know that a lot of you (though certainly not all) normally don’t hold space for this kind of discussion in your courses. I get it. For most of my teaching career I’ve been too afraid to talk about many, many of the things that affect my working conditions and my students’ learning conditions (such is the nature of precarity). I’m here to tell you that breaking the silence around evals feels good and right. …

After nearly two years of struggling through a lupus flare, I can’t get my hands on hydroxychloroquine, a drug that helps keep me alive.

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Image description: The author’s collection of pill bottles, including hydroxychloroquine

Thank you for your “sacrifice,” a woman with SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) was told by her doctor after attempting to get a routine prescription refill last March. Her story was reported in a Buzzfeed News article. Reading it sent me into a panic. That’s because the medication she needed was hydroxychloroquine, the same one I’ve taken almost every day of my life since being diagnosed with SLE, aka lupus, over a decade ago. …

My goal used to be landing a tenure-track job. Now, it’s unionizing adjuncts.

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Image description: three hands clasped at wrists to form a triangle

“For professors to… forestall their own extinction, they must first become not only sociologists but also institutional historians of their own profession.”

— Frank Donoghue, The Last Professors

I wasn’t always pro-union. I started caring about unions as an undergrad, after watching Harlan County, USA for a liberal arts degree I’m still paying off. When I got to grad school, I was amused to discover that I belonged to the United Auto Workers union but took it for granted and did no more than show up to some rallies.

I didn’t come from a union family. My family came from the USSR and saw unions as elitist and corrupt. When I told my mom I got involved organizing contingent faculty at my university she screwed up her face, as if smelling something rotten. On other occasions, she took a different approach, pleading with me to keep my head down. And I couldn’t reassure her that her fears were unfounded. Retaliation for union organizing is real. …


Maggie Levantovskaya

I write about adjuncting, chronic illness and whatever else strikes my fancy or makes my blood boil. More: https://maggielevantovskaya.com/writing

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