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.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Yesterday I started ranting and raving about things that bother me. Today I will continue. It is not an unusual occurrence for a student to register for my class and then never show up. Usually it is only one or two individuals but there are semesters I finish where I have never met the student.

College policy is that these individuals need to fail the class. I used to feel bad about failing such students. I thought maybe the student got confused as to what class they registered for. I even used to send e-mails to such students, but I never got a response back for those students trying to take the class in absentia, so I gave up.

I was talking about this a couple of years ago with another adjunct and she explained that this is usually done quite deliberately. In order to get financial aid, students often have to register for a certain number of credit hours. They don’t actually have to get credit for all the classes, just register for them. Once I realized this was a game that students were playing, I no longer felt bad about failing them, I actually relished the thought and if there was anything I could do to find a way to make them have to pay back the funding, I would.

Last semester, I had a new happening. I am not sure if this is the case for all students who get financial aid or just some but, in order to get the money, the administration needs to make sure that the students have attended at least some of the class sessions come the halfway point of the semester. I got an e-mail from the administration asking about one student in particular and making sure she had been to some of the classes that took place on, or before, October 31. Guess what? Up until this date, she was at almost every class. After the date passed, I never saw her again. She was clearly playing the game.

Not only did I fail her, I sent an e-mail to administration explaining the game she was playing and how once the “magic date” passed, I never saw her. Again, I hoped this would lead to her financial aid being revoked. Unfortunately, administration told me all they needed was proof she had been there prior to 10/31. In other words, there was nothing I could do.

This semester, I have a student who showed up for the first couple of weeks of class. She came late just about every session. Since that time, I have not seen her. She was not there for any of the speaking dates set aside for the informative speech (the first speech the students give). Again, I wish there was a way I could do more than just fail these individuals.

By the way, don’t think that I am cruel or mean. A student who has true problems, who talks with me and is willing to work with me, I am willing to bend over backwards to help; it is for the students who clearly look to take advantage that I have no patience.

Up Next: The length of the speech…