Adjunct between classes. So hungry I got a cheeseburger from the campus caf’. This adjunct never does that. And, I’m recovering from a cold but I was so hungry I couldn’t control any part of my thinking. Little over 90 minutes till class. Here wondering, would I recommend anyone teach at the college level, be an adjunct, do this between classes and face momentary starvation and quick climbs up stairs and parking spot wars, and varying campuses (which I no longer do, refuse to do). Honestly, no. BUT, if you insist on teaching, make sure you have another world to rely on, and that that other world is reliable. Adjuncting is not. All the articles you read about adjunctdom are dire, depressing, alluding to destitution. I can’t live like that. I won’t. But this piece isn’t about adjunct life or what it’s like to be a ‘junct, it’s about making a moment, or circumstantial set YOURS. Between classes, I needed a burger. It sounded good, so I got one. Battled the long line, waited in the overheated little campus café, and here I am.
So many adjuncts profess and profess how unhappy they are. Why? Why do they let themselves continue in that code? What brings us to teaching is a love of knowledge, sharing ideas and the reality of working with students. So many of these realities however are contaminated with the fantastic. You’ll have a safe, secure job as a professor. You sure? I’ve been an adjunct for over ten years now, applied for full-time, and haven’t landed a thing. “You need to be more involved.” I’ve been told. Innumerable times by several tenured full-timers. Committees, panels, chairs, talks, discussions, volunteer hullaballoo. I have two kids, I can’t afford to do anything that’s ‘volunteer’, much as I earnestly would LOVE to. But they don’t care. Wow, that’s compassionate. That’s supportive… not at all. How does that encourage adjuncts to want to carry their “careers” as educators further? Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it does. For me, it’s modified. I’m not pursuing full-time. I have many other projects and ventures, and little gigs. I still love teaching. I won’t let them discourage me.
The adjunct bites his burger again, so thankful he’s nearly over his cold, that he has this moment in the office alone to have some tease of a meal. I, am that adjunct. This adjunct, here. Only the second day of classes, first week. How do I feel? Great, if you should know. As I’m the one in charge. I refuse to anymore stultify myself by going between three campuses and hoping it will culminate to that full-time standing. It won’t. I’m fine with it. In fact, this adjunct has already wasted too much of the page discussing the adjunct life. He’s tired after that burger, and tired of the topic. Good thing he remembered to put coffee in that container. Sometimes I think we need coffee more than anyone. We, the adjuncted. Just keep up with the students, the freeway falcon-ing, and all the bullshit.