Bad play, coach
ETSU men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes was right that he owes an apology, but it’s not to the fans, it’s to his team.
As a season ticket holder, I was disgusted to read his remarks following the loss to Furman last weekend. This particular team is the best one I’ve seen during the six years we’ve lived here. This particular group of players turned me into a full-on fan. I used to bring knitting to games when we started going. Now I lose my voice from cheering. They are, for the most part, unselfish, mature, patient and supportive of one another.
Apparently they are doing that on their own, because Forbes showed none of those qualities in his remarks. His comments were petulant, immature and disrespectful, not to mention unhelpful. Leaders should live by the adage, “correct in private, praise in public.” If he felt those things needed to be said to his team, then he should have done it in private. My heart broke for those young men after the Furman game, especially coming off the overtime loss to Wofford.
I was happy to see Coach Bartow leave because of his sideline tantrums. I’m seeing more and more of that behavior in Coach Forbes, and I think his players deserve better. Is there work to be done? Yes. But it needs to start with the top, and with his own attitude.
Adjunct teachers are exploited
New legislation encourages Tennessee's General Assembly to address an open secret that administrators of public institutions often seem to avoid: Higher education relies on the part-time, low-wage, unbenefitted, precarious labor of adjunct instructors like myself. I've been teaching English at ETSU since 2011 and English and humanities at Northeast State since 2013.
When they come to my classes, most of my students don't suspect that their teacher sometimes holds second and third jobs as a gas station clerk and server, occasionally selling plasma to make ends meet. My students don't know that changes to enrollment numbers often mean that my classes get canceled days before they are scheduled to start, so the significant labor I put into preparing a course can easily go unpaid. My students don't know that, whenever possible, I teach an overload of courses. Even though our students usually don't know these things, adjuncts' working conditions are our students' learning conditions. Adjunct labor is another example of how reliance on low-wage jobs undermines our society.
In 2018, adjuncts accounted for 40 percent of ETSU faculty. The average pay to teach a typical course is $1,950, which one estimate sets as equivalent to $8.40/hour. At current in-state undergraduate rates, 20 students enrolled in that same course pay the university around $33,000 in tuition. Considering that the average pay of an adjunct accounts for only 6 percent of tuition, we see how adjuncts are exploited as a cash cow to subsidize the university budget. Where does the money go? If administrators care about the pursuit of excellence, our educational institutions and legislators should prioritize supporting those of us with our boots on the ground in the classroom. Please support fair pay for adjuncts. Support House Bill 0707/Senate Bill 0775.
Caregivers were a godsend
In a time when we attempt to show our grateful appreciation to worthy patriots such as veterans, firefighters, law enforcement officials and emergency responders, I would like to include a special tribute to another segment of our society that is sometimes overlooked — caregivers.
It was my privilege to encounter a number of them recently. My wife had hip replacement surgery and spent 13 days in rehabilitation at Four Oaks Healthcare Center in Jonesborough. I was so impressed with the attention we received from all the personnel there: physicians, nurses, therapists, food service attendants and room service workers. What an encouraging and positive spirit emanated from these noble caregivers! The staff demeanor each day was always caring, friendly and family oriented. Meals were savory and reminiscent of home cooking. We cannot thank God enough for such sweet-spirited servants. What a vital role they play in their ministry to patients and their families. My wife and I are grateful that the Lord brought us to such a caring and loving place. Such caregivers will forever remain in our hearts as true patriots indeed!
RON E. THOMPSON