A Truman Teacher, Administrator and Dean Walk Into a Bar…

by Jarred Gastreich, Staff Writer

In-between cocktail sips faculty josh, conspire

Have you ever wondered what teachers talk about when they are not around students?

A dozen faculty members gathered at Fat Cat, 4840 N Broadway St, recently and took advantage of the cocktail specials during happy hour. The purpose? Organizer and English professor Benjamin Ortiz explains: “Some of us would probably be drinking at home anyways.” He believes meeting in a group is a good way to “beat the winter blues.”

The first conversation overheard was about the Univision Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate that aired the night before. Math professor Helen Valdez and Ortiz gossiped about current national politics.

When English professor Dr. Anne Close arrived, the topic changed. Reminiscing about the first faculty-only happy hour, she said, “It was a great community-builder at the beginning of the semester.”

Catching a glance of the game on TV, Close asked, “Are you a basketball fan?” That led to a story by Ortiz about a past student whom he didn’t know was famous. Another teacher told him, “‘That dude was in your class? He’s a basketball star!’”

The group shared experiences regarding a recent student portal mishap. Because of an impassable pop up, some students were prevented from accessing their vital online resources. The professors emailed administrators whom provided no remedy or apology.

Shortly after, some administrators and other faculty entered the bar. This forced the shindig to move from a meager table to a swanky, round booth in the back corner. Introductions were made under dim lighting.

The marrying of conversations made eavesdropping easier said than done.

The final topic overheard was when Dr. Quincy Paden, Associate Dean of Student Services, revealed a book he is writing. It’s about those who, “went to school, were never arrested, but work at Walmart for $8 an hour,” Paden summarized, “It’s entitled ‘The Educated Poor.’”

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Photo credit: Jarred Gastreich

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