Post Academic

Don’t let being an adjunct make you mad (Part 3 of a series)

"Lol cat angry" by Cro0016 (Creative Commons license)

So I promised I would end this series on what makes me mad about teaching by being more constructive and stepping outside the solipsistic navel gazing of my own experiences.  That’s why I’m going into what makes me mad about being an Adjunct or Lecturer or Contingent Faculty or cheap labor or whatever they call it where you are.  I should say in advance that I’m not an adjunct agitator myself or a future freeway flyer, though I’ve gained more and more respect for those folks over the years–and it’s not just because I’ve stepped into their shoes just a little bit.  It takes a lot to stick with being an adjunct, considering how you have to persevere in underpaid jobs with pretty much no chance for a promotion and deal with the uncertainties of having classes assigned to you or cancelled at a moment’s notice.  For a better sense of adjunct-oriented issues on a national scale, check out the New Faculty Majority website or read the piece Caroline has been linking on the matter, “Confessions of a Tenured Professor”.

I should begin by saying that the way I handled being mad about adjuncting is that I stopped being one.  I am grateful that I got a chance to teach classes that were related to my research and that I found out a lot more about how I feel about teaching in general, but I couldn’t deal with a lot of the slights and anxieties full-time contingent faculty put up with much more admirably than I ever could.  And I was definitely luckier than most, in that I had mentors, friends, and staff who looked out for me and offered me opportunities to help me hang on from one academic job cycle to the next when I couldn’t or refused see the writing on the wall.

Still, the precarious day-to-day condition and the perpetual mindtrip of being a Lecturer couldn’t help but make me mad, which I explain below the fold…