Saturday, September 30, 2017

Adjunct Hell

Years ago during my writing career I dipped in and out of teaching like a drunk going back to the same run down bar. I was the aspiring writer coming into the purview of the full time professors. I usually got the crappy classes nobody wanted at eight AM and it was usually first year comp. I taught at a very prestigious expensive private school. Two of them in fact. When they had faculty meetings the room was full of adjuncts. In the middle sat the anointed full time professors, all five of them. The other twenty five teachers were adjuncts. This was at a school that charged 40K a year in tuition.

So I learned quickly there were two worlds. The hotdog money world of the adjuncts (2500-3500) a class and the tenured full time 70k+ world of the professors who generally didn't speak to the adjuncts. My brother is a full fledged professor and he told me many times that the adjuncts came and went so why get to know them. So you show up at a class with no fanfare at all. You were hired months before and then you never saw anyone again. You teach your guts out for a class or two and then you get in your car and drive home. That's it.

No collegian conversations. No going out with your colleagues over lunch. No dinners with the University President. You are on the outside, you are the lone ranger, the interloper, in fact you don't exist. The students call you professor  but they do not know the dirty secret .You are not really employed, you are a contract player who will probably not return.Hey what are you teaching next semester?  You demure. You don't know. If enrollment is down you wont be teaching anything. And then you just disappear. That's what happened with me. You just don't get another class.

So you get the word that your class was taken by a full time professor. You try and get another class but suddenly it is like you never taught at all. You are unemployed. So you do what any self respecting writer would sit down and write a book. And never look back.

Al Capone and the 1933 Worlds Fair

Books by William Hazelgrove