From the Comments: A Fired New School Teacher Speaks Out

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Author & Professor Andrew Zornoza is one of the teachers who was recently fired from The New School, yes, firings have reached way beyond Parsons. Zornoza is also a reader of this blog and he posted a comment on my last post about the mass firings. His words put a human face on the idiocy of The New School and demonstrates how horrible the impact on personal lives is:

It wasn’t just Parson’s, teachers throughout the New School were told there were no classes for them to teach. I’m one of them.

I don’t think it’s clear how reprehensible this is.

The New School will pay me $6,000 this year. This is without health insurance, despite that I have a 6 month year beautiful (and healthy, thank god) baby boy.

I wince at tooting my own horn, but I am an Ivy League graduate and published, respected author.

More importantly (and again wincing), my students love my classes. I have yet to see ANY negative feedback whatsoever. We watch La Jette, go see Andy Goldsworthy exhibits, we have cannoli’s together (at my expense), we read James Baldwin, we laugh, we cry, we learn, etc. Many of my students have gone on to publish and have used me as a recommendation source to go on to PHd programs. I spend more than twice my average class-time (non-paid and without an office), emailing students, giving them feedback, designing fun classes, emailing librarians, guest lecturers, maintaining a community blog. . . .

I love to teach. I only do this because it’s what I love to do.

Last year I taught 17 classes (in various NYC universities). Total pay, $22,120. No vacations, no going out, nothing but paying the diaper bill.  How much have universities MADE from my classes? About $260,000 gross. Please look at that math.

Since I started teaching, I have gone into debt about $12,000 a year.

This all sounds like just so much whining.

But how is it that the New School cannot afford to keep me, or many of the other adjuncts, around? I cost $6000! TOTAL! That’s not a problem with me, it’s a problem with management. Or it’s just plain asinine. Any company in the world would find a good use for me at (dare I say?) quintuple the salary.

We were also given this news during Spring Break, when other schools had filled in their teaching position for the next semester. So no chance of finding new work.

This is a bad business decision. Bad for me, bad for the school, bad for the students.

I feel awful for myself, let down by the University and very, very sad that I’m not going to be able to help the students of Parson’s and The New School. I miss them already.

If you’d like to support Zornoza, please consider buying his upcoming book, Where I Stay (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2009). More info on Zornoza’s website here.

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Tyler Green also pointed out to me that the San Francisco Art Institute is experiencing similar problems, including the layoff of nine tenured faculty members. For more info on the situation at SFAI, visit the San Francisco Art Institute Action and Information Board.