I’m an adjunct English professor, an “associate faculty” if you want a slightly snottier label, with a masters degree. I am in a state that forbids a real union (otherwise I’d be in it) for all faculty, and I’ve taught so far five semesters X one class per semester. I’m at a regional campus of a state university that awards masters degrees as the highest level. I have other pursuits (¿jobs?) both on and off of campus. I can afford to do this because I’m on Social Security retirement pension and “own” my home. I have very little savings so there are many events that would wipe me out. So far I’m “paying the rent,” and I live alone.

I love my students. I love them when they fall asleep in class because they worked too many hours yesterday, or even that they “partied” too hearty. I love the courageous ones–the first in their families to try for a college degree. They are on the top of my hero list. I love the ones who are trying out critical thinking for the first time. I love them because they TRY.

I’m gravitating toward the ones who are having the hardest time. In the spirit of Eugene V. Debs, where there are students who needs the most uplift, who are the furthest behind, I want to be teaching them. Also on the top of my heroes list are people like Mike Rose, who are doing this well, and whom I strive to emulate. I’m shocked that in my state the teaching of these “behind” folks falls to professors/lecturers/whatever like me, who are perhaps the least qualified from the beginning to help them.

But I’m working on it, and need your help, thoughts, observations. I’m staying as anonymous as I can, because I might lose my job if I’m too forthright under my own name, and I’ll try to do the same for your postings. Let me hear from you.


About tiompanista

David James 574-276-7822 djames@tiompanalley.com David James’s musical and political activism dates back forty years. He was a draft counselor and draft resister from 1967-72, beginning as a student at University of Notre Dame (B.A. 1970) and continuing as a South Bend, Indiana resident. He sang with, and backed up, the legendary Phil Ochs at the Anti-Military Ball in ’68 at Notre Dame. David sang for and marched with the freedom marchers in South Bend in the summer of 1968, when Milwaukee’s Father Groppi spoke on the South Bend courthouse steps; he was a member of the NAACP Youth Council. He sang with a group of four others for Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 appearance at Notre Dame’s Stepan Center. He was one of the “South Bend Seven” tried for antiwar activism during the Vietnam War era. He marched with Dick Gregory in Chicago in 1968 during the Democratic Convention, and participated in 1969 in the Washington Vietnam Moratorium march. His music (and sound gear) were seen regionally on behalf of civil rights groups, Central and South American democracy movements, the anti-Apartheid movement, the Great Peace March, women’s liberation, and many disarmament struggles. David performed all over Chicago and the Gary, IN, area with the activist music group Common People. David was a founding member in the 1980s of the South Bend chapter of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; he performed alone and with others at the first, and five following International Women’s Day Celebrations in South Bend. David has sung on many picket lines and rallies for locals of United Auto Workers (South Bend, Anderson, Kokomo, Elkhart), United Steel Workers (Gary, East Chicago, Chicago), American Federation of Teachers (Chicago) NEA South Bend, Teamsters, A.F.S.C.M.E., and P.A.T.C.O. (Chicago, South Bend, during the famous strike). He marched in Solidarity Day in Washington in 1981. He was musical director for the Miles Coiner play Sit-Down 36, and sang and played as a member of the cast for many performances, including a show for one of labor’s great historical figures, Victor Reuther, and performances at the UAW Summer School at Black Lake, Michigan, and the South Bend Center for History. He registered over 400 voters in South Bend during the ’84 and ’88 elections, was an Indiana state convention delegate for Jesse Jackson. He knows all six verses of "Solidarity Forever" by heart. Many times in the ‘80s he performed, in New York City, Northern California, Texas, Illinois, and Indiana with the “Last of the Old-Time Black String Bands,” Martin, Bogan and Armstrong. He performed with regional Bluegrass bands and appeared during the ‘70s and ‘80s at the Indiana Fiddlers’ Gatherings. Recently he traveled to Indianapolis to perform the music and song for a pageant on the life of Mother Jones in front of a regional I.B.E.W. women’s convention. David is a Master Folk Fellowship recipient, 1990, from the Indiana Endowment for the Arts. He has been the subject of feature articles in Arts Indiana and Notre Dame magazines; he was included among the Hundred Fascinating People of the Century by the South Bend Tribune newspaper. He is 1986 U.S. National Champion and 1989, 1995, and 2002 All-Ireland Champion on the hammered dulcimer. He currently teaches and performs Irish and American dance and folk music, and is a master’s degree candidate at Indiana University South Bend, to graduate on May 12, 2009. For much more—music resume, news clips, photos, sound samples, songs, tunes. Civil Rights resources, music instruction, see http://www.tiompanalley.com. “James's music is rich, complex, daring and innovative, yet springs from and is part of an old tradition, Irish and American. Not only a champion dulcimer player, but a jack-of-all-instruments, a singer, and an activist, James's life and work form an anthem to the ideal of ‘making things right in the world.’” Frances Sherwood, Arts Indiana, April 1988
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