Saturday, March 22, 2008

Life of An Adjunct Professor

Its been about 7 months since I began work as an Adjunct Professor for various schools within driving distance from my apartment in Danvers, MA . April of 2007 I was told by my boss at the time(Chair of the Dept of Sociology), he was replaced by a colleague of his in July that my services would not longer be needed. I was hurt since I had made a effort above and beyond of my responsibilities. Nevertheless, I swallowed my pride and applied for a serious of teaching jobs that would help support me and the over-priced cost of living in New England. In the Fall of 2007 I worked for 3 different schools. One in New Hampshire near the Vermont Border; and two in the North Shore, one that was an 8 week course and the other that lasted the semester. I had been told by colleagues and friends alike try to avoid the Adjunct life. I was not sure what that meant but I can tell you 7 months into that I understand completely.

It means commuting 3-5 hrs a day driving to teach 2-3 courses in fields of study that very different from my academic training. It means not being able to connect with your students that way you would like because you want to avoid driving too late and being tired. At the same time it means not being able to connect with the institution one works at either by attending a talk, sporting event or social activity at that institution. Do I regret it, thats hard to say since there were circumstances that made my decisions for me.

This semester I have continued to work at that New Hampshire institution, teaching Spanish language and culture courses; one institution in Cambridge and starting next month another institution in Charlestown. This semester is better in regards to the courses I am teaching, plus the students are more receptive.

There is a chance I may move from the area which would break my heart, but the life of Adjunct is not one for the light-hearted and as a man who loves teaching and connecting with my students I want my life back.


mikeofearthsea said...

This comment relates not only to this post but to posts before it: one of the best ideas to come out of the 2008 campaigns was John Edwards' idea to export American education to foster better global understanding. Now that Hussein's removal has allowed that (the import of "free thinking" ideas to Iraq would never have been possible if Hussein was still in power), you might be able to get a job with the State Department as a University Professor in Iraq! Just be sure you bring a flack-jacket and you'll be all set. Oil contractors in Saudi and Kuwait made over 100k after the first Gulf War on 2-3 year assignments. A Professor could be paid that easily today... =)

A-Typical Sociologist said...

Mike, appreciate the job advise, but I have no interests to go to the Middle East to teach. My focus is and always will be Latin America and Human Rights.