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.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Embracing Adjuncthood

When I first took a job as an adjunct professor at the college I currently teach at, I had hoped that it would lead to a full-time position. I felt, and still feel, I have a knack to get through to the students. Students seem to enjoy my classes. It is both flattering and scarey the number of students who tell me, after grades have been turned in, that I am the best teacher they have ever had. The very first time I taught I had a few students who uttered such statements. As a result, I figured when a position became available, I would have a decent shot at getting it.

This past year I finally got my chance. A position was opening up where I teach and I was excited. While I was not counting my chickens before they hatched, I certainly felt I have done enough over the years to warrent an interview. The truth is, due to some health issues, I did not persue it on my end as much as I should have. Still, I figured they knew me at this institution, that whatever they have asked me to do, I have done, that I had a real shot at the position.

After sending in my material, I did not hear anything back from them until they announced they had a person to fill this position. I was not granted an interview, or apparently seriously considered for this position. This actually had me feeling a little sad, a little angry and even a little depressed. I have changed my thinking on this, however. While I still would love to get a full-time teaching gig, I decided that it is time to embrace adjuncthood. It is not that adjuncts are not capable but, if there were no adjunct positions, many of us who enjoy teaching would never have the chance. Being an adjunct allows me to teach and do other things I enjoy, outside of the teaching arena.

Yes, it is time to embrace adjuncthood.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Syllabus

A number of adjunct professors (and professors who are not adjuncts as well) simply reuse old syllabi for new classes. They simply find one that was for the same course and met the same number of days per week. Having taught a course one day a week, the same course two days a week and the same course three days a week, it is really easy for me to do this.

I confess that I always go back to an old syllabus as a starting point. For instance, this semester I will be teaching a course that meets two days a week and one that meets three days a week. As a STARTING POINT, I will go back to an old two day a week course, update the days and dates, and I have a new syllabus. I will do the same for the three day a week course.

It is important though that this only be used as a starting point. While I have been teaching as an adjunct for a number of years, I am always encountering new and different situations. Sometimes these situations are due to student issues I haven't encountered yet. Other times, they are do to what is happening in my life. Also, they can occur due to advances in technology. I always try to update my syllabus each semester, to address the new problems I have encountered. I like a detailed syllabus. It helps to ensure the students knew just what you expect. Even if they don't read it, I know that I have fulfilled my end of the contract and I can show it to them in black and white.

I beleive this has helped make me a better instructor and allowed the students to have a more positive experience in my class.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I have been working as an adjunct professor since 2000. It is something that I enjoy and I would say I'm good at, but I don't want to come off as egotistical. I realize teaching as an adjunct for seven years is a relatively short amount of time (considering my dad taught as an adjunct for 36 years, right up until he died). Still, there are a number of things I have learned and teaching has helped to make me a more well rounded individual.
While I came close to agreeing to teach a summer course for the first time in my 'adjuncting' career, I was not able to fit it into the family's schedule. Still, I know this is the time to start getting things set for the upcoming semester. In addition, I know that blogging about teaching will help keep me focused on my responsiblities as an adjunct (and of course there are many).
I am looking forward to sharing information and I encourage you to respond to any (and all) posts!

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