NEWSFLASH: RANK DOES NOT MATTER TO STUDENTS OR GOD, SO IT SHOULD NOT MATTER TO US, EITHER. IT IS TIME TO ABOLISH THE RANKING AND TENURE SYSTEM IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND ENGLISH STUDIES BECAUSE IT CAUSES MORE HEARTACHE AND PAIN THAN IT SHOULD AND IT SIMPLY DOES NOT MATTER IN THE LARGER PICTURE OF OUR TEACHING AND STUDENTS' LEARNING IN OUR CLASSES. LET US BEGIN TO IMAGINE A PROFESSION WITHOUT RANK AND TENURE, WHERE TEACHING TAKES ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE AS OUR FIRST AND MAIN PRIORITY.
COMPOSITION IS A BROKEN YET MENDABLE FIELD. THERE ARE MANY DEDICATED, CARING TEACHERS IN COMPOSITION STUDIES WHO ARE WORKING FOR SUBSTANDARD WAGES, YET CONTINUE TO TEACH BECAUSE OF THEIR LOVE OF TEACHING AND THEIR CARE AND CONCERN FOR STUDENTS. THESE ARE THE TEACHERS THAT OUR FIELD NEEDS TO VALUE AND UPHOLD IN ITS JOURNALS AND AT CONFERENCES AND THROUGHOUT THE PROFESSION. MANY OF THESE TEACHERS ARE ADJUNCTS AND TA'S, AND IT IS TIME THAT DEPARTMENTS PAY THEM EQUITABLE SALARIES THAT REFLECT THE WORK AND CARE THAT THEY PUT INTO THEIR TEACHING. RATHER THAN TRYING TO BE LIKE ENGLISH STUDIES, WITH ITS FOCUS ON PRODUCING SCHOLARLY PAPERS RATHER THAN TEACHING, WE NEED TO BE A PROFESSION THAT PUTS TEACHERS, OF ALL STATUSES, AT THE FOREFRONT OF ITS CONCERN AND UPHOLDS DEDICATED AND CARING TEACHERS AT CONFERENCES AND IN THE JOURNALS AND THROUGH STRONG ADVOCACY FOR IMPROVED SALARIES, ESPECIALLY FOR ADJUNCTS AND T.A.'S. IT IS TIME FOR A REVIVAL IN COMPOSITION STUDIES, WHERE WE PUT TO REST OUR INSIGNIFICANT CONCERN WITH CAREERS AND CV'S AND PUBLICATIONS, AND RETURN OUR MAIN FOCUS TO TEACHING AND THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS IN OUR CLASSES.
JESUS PAPERS WERE WHAT THEY WERE CALLED BY SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES AT A MIDWESTERN UNIVERSITY WHERE I TAUGHT WRITING DURING THE 1990'S. THEY WERE PAPERS WRITTEN BY CHRISTIAN STUDENTS WHO LOVE JESUS AND WANTED TO SHARE JESUS' LOVE AND THEIR FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS WITH THE WORLD. THESE STUDENTS WERE, INDEED, SOME OF THE MOST LOVING AND CARING STUDENTS I HAVE EVER TAUGHT. I ASK AGAIN TODAY, WHO ARE WE, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, TO CENSOR THESE STUDENTS' PASSION FOR AND DESIRE TO EXPRESS THEIR LOVE AND FAITH IN GOD AND JESUS? FAITH IN THE LORD AND IN GOD THE FATHER IS SOMETHING THAT IS NOT TALKED ABOUT MUCH, IF AT ALL, IN MANY UNIVERSITIES. AND YET WE ARE A SERVICE-ORIENTED PROFESSION WHERE MANY COMPOSITION TEACHERS TEACH THEIR STUDENTS SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES AND A CONCERN WITH TEACHING AND TUTORING WRITING IN THE COMMUNITIES AROUND THEM TO MEET THE COMMUNITIES' WRITING NEEDS -- TEACHINGS IN LINE WITH CHRISTIANITY AND CHRISTIANS WHO LIKEWISE FEEL COMPELLED TO SERVE THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. I WOULD SAY THAT WE HAVE MUCH TO LEARN FROM AND SHARE WITH OUR STUDENTS WHO LOVE JESUS AND BELIEVE IN COMPASSIONATE SERVICE TO HUMANITY, IN JESUS' NAME.
GOD DOES NOT CARE HOW MANY LINES ON THE CV YOU HAVE, RATHER GOD CARES ABOUT HOW COMPASSIONATE, KIND AND LOVING YOU ARE TO YOUR STUDENTS AND COLLEAGUES THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY. IT IS TIME WE SET OUR PRIORITIES WITH GOD'S PRIORITIES IN COMPOSITION AND RECOGNIZE, VALUE AND UPHOLD THOSE CARING, DEDICATED TEACHERS WHO HAVE GREAT COMPASSION AND LOVING KINDNESS FOR THEIR STUDENTS.
Even though they are young and learning still, students have passions and needs to express themselves -- passions that oftentimes God has placed on their hearts. We ought to let students write about those passions and what they need to write about from their hearts, even as we can still introduce them to social justice and world issues that may be new passions for them. We can teach and learn from students at the same time and allow them to be who God made them to be instead of thinking that we need to change them. Oftentimes, when we think we need to change our students, instead our students are the ones who end up changing us with their fresh and passionate views on the world.