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.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The TASER Speech

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Listening to student speeches for me is always an enjoyable and educational experience. Sometimes students base a speech, however, entirely on personal experiences. I always let them know they should do research on the topic and include more than just their own thoughts and experiences.

One student recently did a speech on TASERS, especially following the recent controversy. His argument was despite some problems that can occur, they are still a lot safer than guns and other weapons and police should carry them. It was a good speech but I think a little more research would have helped.

For instance, it is very easy for people to obtain various gear through the internet. Such sites as 5.11 tactical have a lot of gear that people might want. A lot of this gear is very appropriate and there is no reason not to get things from this site.

Still, it does show just how readily accessible different items are, items that in the past might have been a lot tougher to obtain. Certainly information like that, information about how easy it is to get various police equipment can and should be included in a speech about TASERS.

A Needed Break!

The question is, when a day off comes around, who enjoys it more and benefits from it more, is it the students or the teachers? Truth be told, I think that days off are just as important for teachers. As an adjunct, with everything going on in my life this semester, I have been extremely busy. This means that I have not been as sharp in the classroom as I should be (or at least want to be). It also means, when I am critiquing, the students are not getting my best effort.

It is important to point out that, while it may not be my best, it is still very good. The time off, however, gives me an opportunity to recharge my batteries. This is important as it should make me more effective for the rest of the year. In addition, I have a few extra days to work on critiques, days when I do not have to worry about the day job (okay, well I do have to worry about it but I am not going into the office).

I have to be smart and not fall into the trap the students do of procrastinating and not getting around to critiquing speeches until the very end of vacation. I honestly do not think that will happen. My guess is, when Sunday night rolls around, I will have done less than I wanted to get done but more than I realistically should expect myself to get done. If I can do that, it will be a successful break for me.

I hope my students use the time off just as wisely to work on speeches, group presentations and anything else on which they may need to catch up. It always amazes me how much students will let slide. And, if they let work slide, I tell them to be in touch with me and tell me what is going on (not a difficult requirement and something that can actually help their grade), but it is amazing how often they do not do something so simple.

I guess that is part of the fun and mystery of being a college student!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


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As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, like many Americans, I stop and think about those things for which I am thankful. Of course, good health, family, love and friendship top the list. But I also stop to think about some of the not so obvious things.

I recently heard someone say we should be thankful for the things which are not so good because it makes the good times seem that much better. Also, sometimes we may not fully realize that things happen for a reason and we do derive benefit.

I used to work in Florida, North Florida, and I am not a Florida person. Still I was gaining valuable experience and that experience actually helped lead to my adjunct opportunity.

Still, while I am not a Florida person, there were some things I enjoyed like having the opportunity to visit St. Augustine, the oldest city in Florida. St Augustine is located in North Florida. I recently learned about a festival, the First Friday Weekend Artwalk. The St. Augustine Artwalk seems very enjoyable. It occurs on the first Friday and Saturday of every month from 5pm to 9pm and they give free tours.

There is music, entertainment and refreshments at a number of participating galleries. In November there is the fall arts and crafts festival and in December there is the Nights of Lights festival. There are a number of featured events as well. This looks like a very enjoyable festival and I would actually be interested in returning to Florida to see the St. Augustine Artwalk .

My Meeting

One of the things I like to do if I am up for a job and do not get it is to set up a meeting with the person or people involved and find out where my weaknesses were. I do not get angry with them for not hiring me. I tell them I want to find out my weaknesses to better improve myself, and that is true.

When the full-time position I applied for did not come through, I set up a meeting with the person who heads up the office that oversees this person. He is a friend and I have taught classes for him through this department.

I found out that when I met with the Dean (the third of the three interviews I had, and the highest ranking official) there was a question about marketing that I did not knock out of the park. The impression I get is it came down to me and one other person and this other person handled that question very well. I was speaking in generalities and the Dean wanted specifics.

I actually recall this question and thinking that while I handled it effectively, I could have done better. That certainly seems to have been the case.

My contact was quick to mention that he did not want to put it all on the Dean as he too was involved in the decision. He did say, however, he was rooting for me. Again, my impression is he was impressed with the candidate that ultimately was offered the job and he was impressed with me. He could have gone either way but had no reason to go against the candidate that ultimately was hired.

Certainly this gave me the information I needed and wanted. I am not better and hopefully the next time a situation arises when I am being interviewed, I will do better.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Printer Workout

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This is the time during the semester that I get little sleep, that my students give lots of speeches and that my printer gets a workout. It seems that I am frequently printing out critiques. Between my three classes, I probably print out at least 10 two page critiques a week.

I find that I frequently need to replace cartridges. Fortunately with sites like Cartridge Finder, it makes my life easier as I can find out what machines take what cartridges and I can also find out who has the best prices available.

If you find that you are doing a lot of typing, or just not sure what cartridge to get for your machine, Cartridge Finder can help.

Friday, November 16, 2007

No Full Time Offer

As you probably figured from my What Am I Thinking post , the full time position I was up for where I teach did not come through. Had it come through, I would not even be teaching one class next semester, let alone three (Yes, I have agreed to the three).

I certainly had hoped that the full-time position would have come through. It would have kept me involved with the college and with college students and it was a position I believed in, letting highschoolers know about programs they could take advantage of for college credit.

Still, just because I did not get the position, I am not bitter. At least they called me in for an interview and gave me a shot. I am still bitter that when it came to the full time teaching position, they never even called me in for an interview. I am good enough for them to ask to teach all different times of the day, places, five days a week, whatever they want, whatever they need, but when it comes to a full time position, for that I am not good enough.

At least going through the process I did, interviewing for a position, helped to reestablish my sense of fair play in the field of education. I got what I felt I was entitled to, a chance to sink or swim on my own, to be interviewed for the position.

I did have a meeting with the person who heads up the department, just to find out what my strengths and weaknesses were during the interviewing process. I will be entering a separate post about that meeting in the near future, but one thing he told me over the phone was I truly was among the top candidates on the list, and this was not just lip service, they truly were interested in my. A simple comment like that, for me, can go a long way in restoring my faith in the entire process and, for good or for bad, be willing to once again take on three classes (which may very well be a killer). Well, hopefully I can manage.


The following is a paid post

Working as an adjunct at a Community College, I have noticed there seem to be a number of fundraisers that go on. Some are ones to which I donate (time, money, or food), others are good causes but ones to which I do not make a donation, and still others are not causes that ring true to me.

As someone who has a bit of a background in marketing, I am always curious to see how various groups, institutions and individuals go about fund raising. I recently, while surfing the web, came across a site that actually helps people learn about how they should, or could, put fundraisers together and gives fundraising tips.

What I find interesting about this site is how they have various links based on what you are looking to do. For instance, there is a link you can click on if you want to learn more about Food FundRaisers. If you need ideas for Campaigns, this site can help. Whatever it is that you are looking for, before putting your next fundraiser together, it is worth checking out and learning as much as possible.

As we enter the holiday season, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I hope everyone has a very happy holiday and that those people looking to increase food donations for this holiday are successful so everyone can partake in a festive and enjoyable meal.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What Am I Thinking

This semester has been gruesome and gruel some. I am teaching three classes and I am teaching every day of the week. This is in addition to my “day job”. I had previously decided that next semester I would not teach three classes and I would not teach every day of the week.

As it turned out one of the classes I teach they decided not to offer next semester because it usually does better in the fall semester than the spring one. As a result, I figured everything would be all set. Well, of course, things don’t work out so easily. I ran into the Dean earlier in the week and she asked me something about if I was teaching the same classes next semester. I told her one of the classes was not being offered and she commented to the effect of, “So, you are available to teach another class.” I asked her what she had in mind.

First she mentioned that it would be for another course in the curriculum, Interpersonal Communication. Well, so far where I teach they have only been willing to let me handle Public Speaking courses, so I figured this was a good sign. It would also be a three hour class once a week.

As it turns out, it actually is a public speaking class but it is only one evening a week, on an evening I am available. So, it would not pull me out of the office during the day and it is only once a week, but the time I need to put into grading and critiquing is huge.

I am actually foolish enough to be toying with the idea of teaching three classes next semester. I am not sure what I want or what I will do, but I am thinking about it and that is the last thing I thought I would be thinking about at this point in the current semester.

I’ll keep you posted.

Car Trouble

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It was about one year ago that I had a very scary experience. I needed to head out of state so I left my car at the airport and flew to my destination. When I came back I found the car was not handling well at all. Still, I needed to get to my class on campus as I had to teach that morning (I was not smart enough to call in sick). As I drove, I was praying every step of the way. Fortunately, the car got me where I needed to go.

After I made this drive, I thought about the old joke about a cab driver and a preacher who die on the same day. The cab driver is let right into heaven but the preacher is asked question after question, having to defend his time on earth. Finally, the preacher frustrated asks, “How come the cab driver was let right in but I, a man of the Lord, have to defend my existence.”

The angel answered, “When people heard you preach, they got a good nap, but when people got in his cab, they prayed.”

Well, it was my car, and I was driving, but I prayed. It was that very day I went down to the dealership to find a new vehicle and I needed to move quickly. How much easier things would have been if I knew about CarsBlvd. I could have gotten information on all sorts of cars and been able to do my shopping right on line. Enter the information you want and the site will tell you the deals that are available. So, if you want something like a Honda Car Quote you can get it quickly and easily.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Group Presentations

I am at the time during the college semester that my students are working on group projects as they need to do a group presentation. It is amazing to me how they often overlook certain details and how they often forget the importance of appearance and perception.

If you are working with other people in a group, one of the first things that should be done is make sure you have each other's contact information. I have watched groups fail to give each other a phone number or an e-mail address, so it is impossible to get a hold of certain members outside of the class.

I am also amazed at how groups respond when I give them class time to work on the presentation. Yes, it is fine with me if they go to the library to do research or if they go to the computer lab. What amazes me is the number of students who simply view this as an opportunity to leave early. In fact, I observed one group that always used this "free time" as an excuse to leave early. Then, the session before the group was supposed to present, they asked if they could have an extra session because they were not ready. Of course they were not ready, they never used the time provided. Had the group taken advantage of the time I provided and still needed extra time, I probably would have given it to them. Students, be advised, when you are given time to work on a project, impress the teacher and use it. We do take notice.

Then there is the issue of students not only ignoring the class time but also refusing, or be unwilling, to put time into the presentation outside of class. The do not want to get together. They seem to have this feeling that if each member of the group works on one portion of the project, they do not need to get together to see how it all fits together. They just get up there and present. It is not even that they realize this is a gamble, they actually expect it to work out well.

The last aspect which amazes me is how students who miss a group presentation do not consider how it affects everyone. First of all, the student is unable to make up this assignment. If they miss another presentation, where they are the only one presenting, they can do it another time (the loss points, but it can be done). Since this is a group presentation, it cannot be made up. In addition, if a group is expecting a person to be there with some material and the person never shows, the rest of the members have to scramble to cover that portion.

Most of this is just plain old common sense which is why it amazes me how much of it the students do not know.

An Adjunct's Salary

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The other day I sat down to figure out how much money I am really earning with all my running around. It was pretty depressing. The bottom line is I am an adjunct, so I do not get benefits and obviously colleges and universities use adjuncts as a way to save on their expenses. Still, I teach because I love it, but I have to figure out a way to pay the bills. And, now with the holidays coming up, it gets even tougher.

The coupons from a website like CouponChiefs can be very helpful, as it is a good way to find gifts and save money. They strive to provide a one stop coupon deal and discount resource for their Web site visitors and focus on customer support, providing coupon codes and promotional deals.Whether it is looking for a product from Home Depot , or Dell , or one of countless other stores, you can find gifts for everyone, including yourself, here.

During the holiday season, and as we near Thanksgiving, things are only going to get crazier, it is one way to make your life easier.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Time Spent Critiquing

I was reviewing some comments on the blog and I found an interesting thought. When I grade speeches, I include a full critique. I discuss what was done well, what need improvement and I talk about both the delivery and the content of the speech.

I have cut down on what I include but I can take up to 30 minutes (15-20 is more realistic) writing comments. This is a throw back to when I was in school. I did not like teachers who simply put a grade on a paper. I wanted to know what the teacher liked and what s/he felt could be stronger. I guess many of us teach using the style we felt was most effective for us when we were students.

A comment on the blog suggested that it would not only be easier, but perhaps the students would prefer it if I just put a grade on a speech. As tempting as that is, I do not think I could do that. In addition, if I critique a speech, I feel that if (and when) challenged about a grade, all I have to do is tell them to look over the comments. Of course, they still complain in groups, but would not talk to me one-on-one about a grade.

Still, I have to admit, that I finished this past week with 19 critiques to type. I have never been that far behind, but the day job has just been that crazy. My MWF class had six people speak on both Monday and Wednesday, my Tuesday-Thursday class had five people speak on Tuesday and my High School Class had two people make up the missed Informative Speech.

While I may cut down even further on what I tell them in a critique, I still feel the need to critique however. My goal is to have everyone finish the semester as a better speaker than when they started. If I do not provide the necessary feedback, that will not happen.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pay Per Post

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I recently learned of a new site called PayPerPost word of mouth ethics and I am very intrigued and even excited. This is a site that actually enables bloggers to get paid for blogging.

By visiting the PayPerPost site PayPerPost and registering (your blog needs to be 90 days old), you will find opportunities available to you from various advertisers and companies that want you to review their site. Not everyone qualifies for all opportunities but, there are a number of them listed. Each one will tell you how much they will pay you to submit an entry on your blog. I believe the minimum is $5 for an entry.

What is great about this is you get to chose which requests you feel fit on your blog. For instance, in terms of teaching, I see there are a number of opportunities that deal with tutors. Certainly something like that would fit on such a blog.

A friend of mine actually told me about this blog and mentioned that if you take advantage of various opportunities, you could easily earn about $100 a week (or more). I have not yet really started to examine these opportunities, and I don’t know that I would be looking to make $100/week. Still, knowing that the opportunities are out there and that possibility exists, it is very encouraging.

Getting paid for what we love to do, how exciting and intriguing.

Busy, Busy, Busy

With three classes this semester, what I had feared might happen certainly seems to have happened. There are not enough hours in a day. If you simply look at the frequency I had been posting on this blog up until a month ago, and then you look at the past month, you can see that there has been a dramatic decline.

Of late, it has been the day job that has been keeping me swamped. I have never been this busy with the day stuff. Now, when I am busiest with teaching (because of juggling three classes), I also am the busiest at the other job.

Well, certainly things have suffered as I have about 20 speeches I need to critique. I plan on getting them done this weekend and the truth is, I probably should be doing them now instead of blogging. Still, what I have not done much of in the past few weeks is anything for me. I have been answering to one person or another. I have been falling behind in all my work. Yes, perhaps the smartest thing to do is to focus on the school work that needs to get done, but who ever said I was smart. Actually, for my own sanity, I just need a little bit of time to do the things I find relaxing. One of those is blogging, so the speeches can wait another hour, the work will still be there.

Hopefully I will be back to blogging on a more regular basis. I enjoy it and it really helps me.