March 3, 2012

AWP12 Day 3: AWP ≠ Staff Development

Yeah, I said it.
People who regularly attend conferences knows never to believe the description of a session that's listed in the program. I mean, that's why one should always select his or her top three picks for each set of concurrent sessions.

I kinda got pissed off today at the AWP conference. I wasn't pissed off at the presenters the did a good job (even though it wasn't the presentation promised in the conference program). 

I started to get upset about how that session, and other sessions I attended, became nothing more than staff development workshops for those in higher ed.

I get it. You teach and you want to improve your skills -- so do I. But, come on, half the crap brought up in these sessions should be addressed during your college's professional development days or, better yet, with HR. 

I've worked at a college for more than 10 years, so I don't wanna hear any of your "Oh it's so hard to get training with budget cuts." You're right. It is hard to get training -- especially for writers who don't have the luxury of earning a living in the field of writing. They paint houses. They work for non-profit organizations. They're administrative assistants. 

I know it's hard out there for an instructor. I see it everyday. But you know what? It's hard out there for all of us. AWP isn't an academic conference on writing. It's a writer's conference that includes includes academics and non-academics. Academics should have sessions focused on their particular area and those sessions should be labeled as such. What I don't like is when a general session on craft gets hijacked by academics who want to turn it into a session about pedagogy, assessment, and all those other higher ed initiatives that college presidents love.

Oh and keep your facacta stories about your department chair or your dean out of these sessions. Go to the bar in the hotel lobby and bitch about your boss like everyone else.