Intrpeid Yale graduate student teaching assistant and GESO organizer Evan Matthew Cobb delivers a telling, scathing retort to those who refuse to see his job as work:

That I better myself through the work that I do does not change the fact that it is work someone else would have to be paid for if I didn’t show up. It would be a better world if all jobs were clearly spaces of self-improvement, but to argue that only workers whose work doesn’t help them grow are permitted to collectively protect their interests is fantastically cynical and woefully disempowering to workers of all stripes. As the child of two public school teachers, I know that every year when the budget comes up, many in our town expect my parents to voluntarily forgo a raise because they happen to love teaching and love the students. I love teaching and I love my students, but the fact that I enjoy what I do shouldn’t hold my dignity hostage nor should it exclude me from the rights of an employee. If enjoying your work really is an excuse to make you do it for cheap, then maybe we should be seizing the inflated paychecks of professional athletes and redistributing them to all the self-loathing investment bankers who gave up on more creative dreams.

Yes, I will likely need an “impressive list of student recommendations” to go far in my profession. I’ve got them, though, and when I look at the evaluations from last semester, the first one to come up says: “Evan is a very good instructor and he should be paid more.” Looks like I’m learning from my students after all.


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