Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A considered proposal for financial independence, or, Too sexy to fail

In this time of financial distress, my daily perusal of the newspapers has given me a plan for my own financial health. Of course, given my field of employment, you might think that my options are limited, but AIG has given me an idea. So, here's my plan.
Step 1: In the future, I will teach a tissue of falsehoods. Now, I do not plan on teaching all and only false things. Rather, I am going to develop a rather involved, coherent and consistent story to tell in each of my classes.
Step 2: At some point, a student will come up against another professor who will inform the student that what I have said is false. As more questions are asked, it will become apparent that I have really messed these students up.
Step 3: No one except me will know in exactly which ways I have messed the students up. They won't know for instance, whether I merely represented Descartes as an empiricist, whether I taught them that modus ponens is a fallacy, whether I presented them with Aquinas' argument in favor of same-sex marriage. Only I will know exactly what has gone on. I will make this apparent to whichever dean I am faced with.
Step 4: I will demand a bonus—let's call it a "retention bonus"—arguing that since I got the students into this mess, only I know how to get them out of it. Of course, I know that I won't be able to spend the rest of my career untangling the web of false beliefs, so the bonus will have to be sufficiently large, something on the order of several million dollars, guaranteed for six or seven years. That seems only fair.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with that; let us know how it works out for you. You know, maybe by emailing us from the unemployment line.

(Actually, I know a dean that that might work on....)

Tyler Hower said...

Do you mean that you don't think it is reasonable to pay people to fix the problems that they pretty much intentionally caused?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant Analogy - 'cept you would be fired or you can just rebut to the Dean - "i was just challenging them to think critically" isn't that what all you profs do anyway?