Thursday, August 30, 2007

Self-indulgent blather: My two worlds, part 2

I live in two professional worlds.

I know I am not unique. We all live in many worlds. All I am trying to say is that in my job, I live in two very different worlds. Here is how I would describe my second world.

In my second world, I am a senior lecturer. I have a three-year contract for my job, with no possibility of tenure. I do not have the title "Professor." When someone calls me "Professor Schiess," I wonder if I should correct it. In my second world, I teach law students how to do legal citation, how to format a legal memo, and how to find legal authorities. I do not teach substance or doctrine; I am a skills trainer. My salary, after 15 years, is 80% of the salary a first-year law professor makes at my law school.

In my second world, my employer forms a task force to evaluate the legal-writing program but does not invite me to join the task force; the task force has no legal-writing instructors. Five years later, my employer charges a committee to evaluate the legal-writing program. Again, neither I nor my colleagues who teach legal writing are invited to participate.

In my second world, my knowledge of writing generally, and my knowledge of legal writing specifically, are not valued. My knowledge is not considered unique or special, because all law professors consider themselves to be knowledgeable about writing and legal writing. In my second world, I write a book and the law school does not mention it on its website. A tenured professor writes a book, and it is announced on the website; a reception is held.

In my second world, I am a child, not a grown-up.

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