For the Curious

I have a Master’s degree in English Literature and Composition from a respectable university.  I work as an adjunct English instructor, making less money than a Starbucks barista.  If student loan companies operated like John Gotti, I would be in the bottom of the ocean with cinder blocks tied to my feet.  Actually, maybe it’s time for me to flee to Costa Rica…

A quick Google search for the word ‘adjunct’ provides the following definition:  “A thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part.”  This is pretty much how most universities think of their adjunct faculty – non-essential.  It’s reflected in our pay (low), our job security (laughable) and our healthcare benefits (non-existent).  Many of us teach a full-time course load, but we are still considered part-time by our employers, who are then not required to grant us any of the benefits provided to full-time faculty.  I did one time get a coffee mug filled with jolly-ranchers . . . so there’s that.

Approximately 70% of the faculty at universities across the country is non-tenure-track.  We are the new majority, yet we are thought of as ‘non-essential.’

For more quality information, visit The Adjunct Project or The Homeless Adjunct.

Here you will mostly find sad complaints of a bitter and ineffective adjunct who should probably be locked in a padded cell.



4 responses »

  1. I am gasping for breath as I laugh aloud, alone at my desk in my basement (instead of grading the 42 essays awaiting me). While I teach at a rural community college with 3 campuses (main + 2 adjunct), many other aspects of our jobs & students are similar to the point of absurdity! I taught high school first and have 23 total years of teaching experience. I know what and how I taught my HS students and I am continually horrified by the lack of preparation and training exhibited by my students. I have the added disadvantage that I can bump into them everywhere–the grocery store, picking my kids up from school, at church, and other awkward locations. On the adjunct campuses, our courses are set up in large blocks (2-4 hours at a time, once a week). Adjuncts have neither office spaces nor mailboxes. We each have a single hanging file in a faculty file drawer. Everything else we need, we tote with us. Often we cannot get into our rooms until 5 minutes before class and then have another instructor hovering while we gather our things to leave. We see the Main Campus (tenured) faculty once a semester at a meeting for all “part-time” faculty. None of us has any hope of advancement. For me, I make it work so that I can be available to be PTO secretary and room parent for my elementary-age kids, but I often have to resort to all-night grading sessions after they are in bed. Thank you so much for letting me know that I’m not alone in my frustrations!

    • You are most definitely (and unfortunately) not alone! That ‘no hope for advancement’ speaks to the heart of the issue – there is no hope. How does one in a hopeless situation rise above it all to help students learn? I think that’s a question we adjuncts have to ask ourselves every time we sit in front of that seemingly endless stack of grading. How generous of your institution to give your very own file folder! Overpaid administrators sure know how to make educators feel special. Maybe next they’ll give you your very own pack of dried out, off-brand pens and some RoseArt crayons for grading.

      P.S. Isn’t seeing students outside of the classroom like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs? Bizarre.

  2. Brilliant! Genius! Your blog keeps me coming back and hoping for new posts. It brightens my day and makes me laugh. Keep up the amazing work!

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