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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Time Away

I have always enjoyed teaching as an adjunct. I always put a lot of time and thought into my lessons and working with my students. I have never lost site that it is all about the students and having them learn something. When I give them assignments, I try (and usually succeed) in getting things back to them the next class session. If things are not handed back the very next class session, almost always they are at the one after that.

Still, while I pride myself on this, I also feeling being an adjunct allows me certain liberties that I might not take, or get, if I were a full time employee. For instance, while I do need to list office hours, I have been told I actually do not need to actually be there. My students have my e-mail address and phone numbers, including a cell phone, so I really do not worry that I am making myself to inaccessible to them.

The very first semester I started teaching, my son had a terrible ear infection. While I basically will spare you the gory details, blood was coming out of his ear. My wife did not have to be to work until that evening so I did not need to take the day off. Still, while I realize that in an emergency situation, you should always take time off, I do feel better knowing that I am not a full-timer.

As an adjunct, I really do not get any personal time. Still, when I need some days off, I do not hesitate to make the necessary changes so I can have the time off. I usually am aware of these days before the semester starts. As a result, I can tell my students upfront which days I will not be there (much like I prefer them to do for me, if they know). If I need to take an unscheduled day, it helps the students understand that I, as an instructor, understand there are certain things that happen which require students to miss a class. Still, just like I understand what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, I want them to know as well. As a result, when I miss a class, I even work that in to teaching a brief lesson. Almost anything can be worked into the class.