Applying for jobs in the educational field can sometimes feel like stepping through the Looking Glass. For instance, one of the applications today asked about "learning-centeredness." The question went something to the effect of "demonstrate your understanding of learning-centeredness and the role of full-time faculty in a learning-centered college." I seriously wanted to answer, "What the fuck?"
Seriously, what the hell is "learning-centeredness"? It is a college, for chrissakes: a place where people go to learn. Therefore, the function of the college is centered on learning. A teacher, as the employee of the college who instills the learning, is, by nature, inherently centered on students learning. I have to write an essay on the function of a teacher, at a school, where people go to learn? How dumb have your previous applicants been? On top of that, would a student know how to answer the questions, "Was your instructor learning-centered?" or "Was your college learning-centered?"
The question felt like a trick question, as if there is no right answer, they just want to see what the applicants come up with. Perhaps there is some code. If you know the right jargon or the right phrases, then you have passed the initiation rites. Maybe the question is on the application as a CYA measure for the institution, as some sort of jargon-filled accreditation requirement. Maybe the question is the product of action taken to statistically prove that students don't feel the way that I felt when I said that, at my university, the students and faculty seemed to get in the way of the business of the institution. Sometimes I wonder if the people immediately on the other end of these types of questions find them ponderous and useless as a real tool of evaluation.
Sometimes, I feel like a near-sighted pawn in a country of nekkid emperors.