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, February 26, 2008

Saying No

We have been getting socked with snow today and the forecast calls for more tomorrow. Evening classes where I teach were cancelled today and while I don’t teach on Tuesday evenings, it does show what the weather is like in this neck of the woods.

Being an adjunct professor, I am very glad I have the schedule I do for the Spring Semester instead of what I have been doing in the Fall Semesters. Understand that once I agree to teach a class, no one ever checks with me about my schedule. I find out what classes I am teaching by logging on to the campus website and going to the registration area. This is frustrating, but I enjoy teaching and have always rolled with the punches.

Rolling with the punches isn’t always easy. During the Fall Semester my schedule usually works out to having to be on campus five days a week. As an adjunct with a full time job (and another part time job), having to drive 45 miles each way (an hour each way) gets to be difficult. Having to do it in snowy, icy weather is even more annoying. That is why I am glad it is the Spring Semester; I only have to be on campus three days a week, so it is less frustrating.

I have learned some things over the years as an adjunct and have even gotten them to give me a few things (not many but a few). When I was asked about teaching a Thursday evening class this semester I agreed, as long as they were able to get me my own office on Thursdays, so I could get work done. It won’t last beyond the semester but they did agree.

I recently impressed myself when I sent an e-mail to the dean. I teach because I love to teach and I think I have been too quick to agree to do things for them, even if it means making my life more difficult. The e-mail told the dean I was unable to teach a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class in the fall. I did mention other times I could teach as I would like to continue teaching three courses. That is a rarity for an adjunct professor but not unheard of.

I hope to get three classes. I hope that when it comes time to making up the schedule the powers that be will actually read the e-mail and take it to heart. Still, I have done all I can do at this point and it does feel good not just to give them an automatic ‘Yes’.

I am willing to help out and do what I can, but it has to fit my schedule too.