Monday, March 26, 2007


It's not enough to be a TEACHER
In college with a Ph.D.;
A college wants a double feature :
Both publications and degree;
For all this seeming erudition
Helps colleges to raise tuition.
Because of this a school's trustees
Would never hire a SOCRATES -
Whose seminars were pure brainstorming;
Debating all the pros and cons
Of issues in his talkathons
Till thinking was made habit-forming;
Who never had a book reviewed
But raised a Plato and his brood.

It's not that I enjoy indicting
Professors who, to please a dean
Of undergrads, must do some writing.
But colleges are far between
That might employ as their professors
Who haven't written books benchpressers,
Who have been trained to lift a ton,
Could lift without a 911.
But who, you'll ask, is better suited
To write about the world's affairs,
To show it off in all its cares?
I ask about the ones excluded;
Who haven't written books but fire
Their students with the word INQUIRE ?

If Socrates were in the bleachers
And had to pass a judgment on
Who'd better serve as students' teachers,
Who'd help them with the pro and con,
Of how to live out their existence-
By giving up or with persistence;
To show when it comes too high priced;
Or when it should be sacrificed -
Who would he choose, if he chose freely?
A specialist who drives you mad
With details that no undergrad
Can well absorb? Or else, ideally,
A teacher who would not permit
You to be someone's catcher's mitt?

Is there a seeming contradiction
Between pure teaching and research ?
If so, whose is the jurisdiction
If one's to be left in the lurch ?
Or need that be ? We must have scholars.
The question is why give them dollars
For teaching when they really write ?
Why not a permanent Fulbright ?
But one that covers all expences.
For others with a Ph.D.,
Let teaching be their custody.
If after college life commences,
Would you have students disembark
Without the zeal of Lewis and Clark ?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Marx had his Althusser; looks like I've got my Tanner!