Small Town Local #1: I think President Trump has the right idea! I want to shake hands with that man!
Small Town Local #2: If people are poor, it's because they don't work hard enough.
Almost two years ago, I went from living in a big city where drag queens read stories to children in public libraries to a small town where many people think that homosexuality is a "choice". It was definitely a culture shock.
Although I've become fond of several of my students, sometimes listening to some of them is like listening to a panel of Fox News correspondents. Every time I see one of them wearing a Make America Great Again hat or one of the other locals drive around town in a pickup truck with a giant Confederate flag flying from the back, I have to bite my tongue to keep from screaming.
Yes, it's America, and they're entitled to their beliefs. And I have to be very careful not to become one of those professors who use their classrooms as political soapboxes. But it isn't easy to live in a town where a lot of people think that Hillary Clinton should be "locked up," shake their heads over "fake news", and yell racial slurs at minorities from their truck windows.
I'll be the first to admit that not all of the people in Small Town are like this, and fortunately, I haven't heard any of my students say racial slurs (although one of my students, who is from another country, confided in me that other students from other classes ridiculed him and laughed at him because of his accent when he tried to talk to them).
I'll also admit that there are advantages to small town life, such as the fact that I'm far less likely to get body slammed for my wallet or for no reason at all (both of which did happen to me in the city I lived in previously), and people are generally friendlier here.
I'll also admit that I'm not completely liberal, partly due to certain liberals whose behavior is often as intolerant as some of the Trump supporters I've met, like the ones who try to prevent controversial people from speaking at colleges and have even gone so far as verbally (or physically) attacking them when they try to give their speeches.
Many colleges are in small towns like this one, so it is quite likely that I'll spend the rest of my career in a small town. I'd be okay with that, as long as I had more job security, a salary that enabled me to quit my second job and have at least one day off a week, and more classes that I want to teach, rather than the "required" classes that most of the tenured professors do not want to teach. That's not the case at the school where I'm teaching now, which is why I want to leave.
I've applied to almost forty schools, and I'm hopeful that I'll find something, although I've already received a few rejections. There's a strong possibility that I'll still be here next year, although it's not a guarantee.
I'm worried, though. If I don't find something better for next year, then who's to say the situation will be any different next year? I'll still have mostly the same qualifications. I do need to do more academic research, which is hard when I'm working about thirty-five to forty hours a week at my teaching job (due to my full teaching load, large number of students, department/committee meetings, etc.) and twenty hours (and sometimes more) a week at my website job.
It's ironic (and unfair) that in order to advance in my career I have to do more research, but because I'm not in an advanced status yet I don't have time to do that research. Tenured professors, on the other hand, have fewer classes to teach and assistants to grade papers and hold office hours for them. But I digress. Such is academia. I probably should have gone into something less stressful, like taste testing for the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un.
What about you? How do you react when people start praising a politician that makes you want to Google "one-way ticket to Canada" and "cheap flasks"?
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