One of the audio book LPs I owned as a little kid was “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain. There was one little story in it that left a lasting impression with me:
“Tom’s whole class were of a pattern—restless, noisy, and troublesome. When they came to recite their lessons, not one of them knew his verses perfectly, but had to be prompted all along. However, they worried through, and each got his reward—in small blue tickets, each with a passage of Scripture on it; each blue ticket was pay for two verses of the recitation. Ten blue tickets equalled a red one, and could be exchanged for it; ten red tickets equalled a yellow one; for ten yellow tickets the superintendent gave a very plainly bound Bible (worth forty cents in those easy times) to the pupil. How many of my readers would have the industry and application to memorize two thousand verses, even for a Dore Bible?”
In this story, Tom cheats his way to his own copy of the bible. The children attending Sunday school were given paper tickets for memorizing bible verses, these could then be step-by-step be exchanged for tickets of different color and in the end for a bible. Instead of this tedious work, Tom starts collecting tickets, by trading little knick-knacks with his classmates. In the end he had enough random tickets to get his own copy of the bible, while not being able to name one of Jesuses disciples. He did win by gaming the system.
It is strange to see the impression this short snippet has left on my five-year-old self. The rest of the book I hardly remember. This might have been my first true lesson on things like capitalism, but the way I understood it back then, and the way this was inscribed in my memory, was that different things can be seen as having equal value. A piece of licorice (one of the items traded by Tom) might be equal in value to a random number of memorized bible verses.
And now comes a weird twist: This is my approach, when it comes to teaching experience. I would love to teach art in an academic setting, but the system in Germany is quite broken. When applying for teaching positions one of the requested requirements is teaching experience. If treated honestly, that should be an unbreakable circle of absurdity. How would one ever get teaching experience, when teaching experience is the requirement for positions that grant you teaching experience? If Franz Kafka would be alive today, he might release a book titled “The Tenure Position”. But of course, there is a way around. All you need is a network on the inside that invites you in as a guest professor or guest lecturer.
I don’t have that kind of network.
So maybe I need to rely on the Tom-Sawyer-Method. If a fishhook and a piece of licorice is worth a yellow ticket, maybe participating in three conferences and one academic paper is worth a one-week workshop. Just how many workshops equal a semester-long class at a university? Or do I need to swap them first for classes at a BA-level? So, to sum it up, how many stuff needs to be swapped for other stuff for me to classify as having “teaching experience” without having to rely on a corrupt network?