My story as an adjunct
Teaching as an adjunct has been very demanding and bewildering since I started last fall. It feels like I am a voyager on a road not knowing where I am going. I am like a voiceless organism that no one cares to hear or see. Insecure as the microwave in the adjunct office, which once had a sign on it that read something like, “if you do not use the microwave properly it is going to be taken away.” Underpaid like the Mexican migrant farm workers in the US, and maybe making the same money.
I teach one intro course two times a week. I spend 6 hours to commute from Westchester County to [borough omitted], by public transportation. I am against using a car to commute because it is against my belief in sustainability and respect for the environment, which is what I am teaching to my students. Therefore, I spend 12 hours commuting and 3 hours teaching a week. I also put aside about 6 hours for preparation for the course a week and at least one hour calming down from the aggravation caused by dealing with problematic students.
Adjunct job insecurity plays a big part in adjuncts not being “forceful” with the students, if that is what the college is expecting us to do. We have to be somewhat accommodating to students so they would not hate us and give us a bad evaluation. I might not be your typical adjunct faculty member but I am typical enough to feel the pain that some adjuncts go through.
I told an adjunct the other day that the 50-student classes that we are teaching need two instructors – one to maintain order and another one to teach. We truly deserve the salary of the two or at least job security. In this disadvantageous situation, we have to both motivate ourselves to teach a reasonable course to satisfy everyone and create enough motivation in our students.