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Not enough hours in day

By Emily Abbott Dagger
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
December 8, 1999
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To the editor,

In the Dec. 3 Perspectives column, run under the grievously misleading title "Teaching assistants deserve pay increase," the workloads of graduate teaching assistants are assessed as being "part-time," "less than 30 hours a week," and are likened to those of "seasonal workers" at "clothing stores at the mall."

As an undergraduate, I worked part-time in retail sales. At this job, I was allowed to walk in at 9 a.m. and walk out by 6 p.m. at the latest. I didn't have to take work home, or even think about my job during my time away from the store. My customers never stormed into my department crying and furious about merchandise I had sold them. And, by the way, dependent health care coverage was provided.

As a graduate teaching assistant, I am on campus at 7 a.m. on the days that I teach, and while I try to leave by 5 p.m., I often have students running in at the last minute with questions that can take up to an hour to answer. I know more about some of my students' personal lives than I do about my best friend's. And when they come to me, whether they're crying or screaming, whether it's about a paper or a parent's death, every ounce of my energy is expended in holding myself together until they are ready to leave.

Part-time? Thirty hours a week? Honey, there could be thirty hours a day, and my job still wouldn't be done.

Emily Abbott Dagger

English graduate teaching assistant

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