I don’t know if the world needs another review of Become a Part-Time Professor: Live and teach anywhere you like, but I am now following in the footsteps of my truly esteemed colleagues Aaron Barlow and Hank Reichman, reviewing it after having downloaded this “book” and thumbed my way through the dumb thing on my smartphone in two minutes. I can’t speak for the writing plans of Aaron and Hank, but I think I should probably spend my time writing mommy porn and get rich instead of adding yet another dollar to the pockets of Lesa Hammond, Ph.D., with my two cents worth of commentary.
But sometimes something is so bad that it’s really attractive.
There is nothing wrong with writing short sentences. In fact, many of us have a tendency to get carried away and sustain our thoughts for several lines before applying the period; I could go on to demonstrate this but will fully stop now. But the sentences in Hammond’s book just don’t satisfy. Sometimes you need to take that leap and not be afraid to go beyond the comfort zone of a dummy. I use “dummy” because that appears to be the reader Hammond has in mind. I am not sure I would want anyone teaching at college who needs to be subjected to this statement: “A doctoral degree is considered the highest attainable degree.” Or: “More and more people are attending college.” I am also hoping that impressionable readers will not think that “bachelors” and “masters” used before “degree” is the way to go. Well, it should be the way to go (“curriculum vitae” to the bottom of the pile).
Discussing putting together the CV, Hammond insults readers with, “If this seems a bit overwhelming, there is a worksheet at the back of the book for you to begin putting everything in one place.”
If someone writes a great book and self-publishes it, less-than-professional illustrations can be forgiven. But photos that perhaps are meant to be sympathetic and are not, such as a Baby Boomer generic white man in white shirt sitting in front of a laptop with grey question marks like soap bubbles painted onto the white curtain in the background, please, get one of your happy part-time art professors to furnish some illustrations and pay the happy part-time art professor well for his or her contribution to your e-pamphlet.
My absolute favorite and nightmare section is the photo of presumably a retired couple, both gray hair, at first hardly noticeable Asian features, as they sit in their recliners “teaching online.” Zooming in I was able to make out a tea set and two cups and in the right hand of the man a camera. But it was the accompanying text that froze me for all eternity: “Margaret and Phil are retired and live a quiet existence. They love teaching their online courses from their easy chairs. ‘It feels like we are sharing our work,’ says Margaret. Even though Margaret teaches English and Phil teaches a math class, they enjoy their time together as they teach.” I love my wife, but I am certain she and I could think of nothing worse than sitting “part-time” next to each other in a room most of the day working together.
I am sure there are others who will have different things to say in their review of Lesa Hammond’s Become a Part-Time Professor: Live and teach anywhere you like. But what bothers me most is the exploitation by an author with a Ph.D. (I have not researched the credentials and experience of the author in the field of education and/or administration), especially if she views part-time faculty worthy of such a book as her pamphlet that would be entertaining if it were not such dangerous material.