Adjunct Professoring

Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Listening To Music

It is always exciting when family members reach new milestones. My nephew just finished registering for college classes for the first time and I found this very exciting. Perhaps, because I teach college courses, it appeals to me more than most. Still, I love hearing the tales about student experiences, especially when it comes to registering for classes..

My sister told me how he has to take a class called, “Listening to Music”. It is a music appreciation class but the title of the class certainly makes it sound like a joke. Still, music appreciation classes can be some of the most important classes, and difficult ones, students can take (and I struggled to pass one that I took). Perhaps if I took some child music education classes, I would have had an easier time.

I know videotapes like the Baby Mozart programs are said to be very helpful as anytime you have children music programs, it makes things easier for people as they get older. In fact, a good music program is said to help children become better adjusted, be more open to diverse ideas and actually get better grades in school, as well as be more appreciative of music. This is why some adults actually get children involved in baby music classes. So, while we may make fun of the name of the class, we should not lose sight of how beneficial such classes can be.

Bad Moods

The other day I was in a bad mood and when people asked me to do things that normally I would have gladly done, it just rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t want to help anybody. It is amazing how our perception can be completely different based on our mood.

I try not to grade speeches or assignments, or even write critiques, if I am in a bad mood as it would not be fair of me to grade students at that point in time. Of course, if the student is the one who put me in a bad mood, it could be different. The point is, we all have our different moods and we need to do what we can not to let bad moods, or concerns or anything else, negatively affect us when we are dealing with other people.

Fortunately, for the most part, I am in a good mood and enjoy what I do but it is important to remember, it is not always them, sometimes it is us.

Making The Job Easier

It is amazing how technology can make our jobs easier as instructors. There are, of course, the obvious items such as the computer and word processor, which make it easier and quicker to type of documents. There are other items as well. For instance, when I started feeling carpal tunnel symptoms, I knew if this became a major issue I could find software that allowed me to speak and it would type what I said. When I started experiencing serious back problems, I knew there were Massage Chairs that could make it easier for me to sit at my computer and type critiques, lesson plans, or anything else I needed to take care of. Such chairs have been a godsend for me and enabled me to do work when otherwise I might not have been able to do so.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


As a New York Met fan, this has been a frustrating baseball season. The season has been riddled with injuries, the team isn't playing well and I, as a fan, am just frustrated. Learning to deal with frustration, to overcome adversity, is important for anyone to learn. Obviously, dealing with the frustrations of my baseball is extremely minor, compared to some of the things others have to deal with.

Sometimes, I have to deal with students who have dealt with, or are dealing with, real tragedies and difficulties. A couple of years ago, I even had a student who told me she was contemplating suicide. At the time, I blogged about the fact that the college doesn't train individuals how to deal with such situations.

What is still amazing to me is, how much information one can get on the internet and how one can become self trained on an issue. There are people who run their own internet businesses, teaching others how to do things. Of course, doing something like that would require needing some kind web hosting. But, even information of that kind, needing dedicated server hosting, can be found on the internet. One can learn things about security issues and so much more.

So, the next time you need to get information from the web, do the necessary research, but take a moment to think about the hard work the person who put the information out there had to go through to make it possible for you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Walking The Dog

It’s time for another dog story. I was out walking my dog and I noticed all the liter people throw on the ground, garbage, sandwiches, all sorts of things. I have a puppy and, like most pups, he likes to eat anything he can get a hold of. I try to catch it in time and stop him from doing so, but do not always succeed.

One reason to try and prevent this is to keep my dog safe. I have no idea how safe it is for him to eat things thrown out. I know if he were in the wild, he would eat all this stuff. The fact, however, is he is not in the wild and animals in captivity, or in my case owned by humans, tend to live longer than ones in the wild.

The bottom line is, the actions of others can have an impact on the life of my dog. Someone throws something on the ground and does not even think about it and my dog eats it, it could cause damage to him. On the other hand, many more people are conscientious. I don’t even know everyone who has passed by there and not committed such acts but to them I say, “Thank you,” as they are helping to keep my dog safe.

Teaching is a lot like this. It is the actions of others, in this case teachers, that have an impact on the students long after the student is no longer in the classroom (at least that is what we like to believe). It is the action of parents, friends and even strangers that have shaped that person into the individual s/he is before the student ever enters our classroom. The things we do have an impact on everybody else and we need to do our best to make sure that impact is a positive one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Final Destinations

Having to travel an hour everyday to get to where I teach, I have often felt like I should get a supercharger for my car and get to my destination more quickly. This way, I could get to campus faster and spend more time doing other things that need to get done. One day I may just go ahead and get a pontiac supercharger for my car.

In this day and age of the internet, it is nice to know that if I ever decide to go forward with this, there are good prices that I could easily find. I wish you good luck finding the best price and reaching your final destination, safely.

Syllabus Corrections

It is always interesting updating my syllabus for each semester. For the most part it stays the same from semester to semester but there are always tweaks that I make to the syllabus. As I was reviewing the syllabus for the upcoming fall semester, I caught a mistake that would have been humorous if I left alone (or the students would have decided I just wasn't that intelligent. I have something in my syllabus that talks about what happens in the unlikely event that school is canceled due to inclement weather. For the summer class I taught, I added a parenthetical comment about how it would be even more unlikely because it was a summer class. Fortunately, I caught this “mistake” and removed that comment from the syllabus.