I’m an Adjunct Professor in an Office that’s not Mine, and not an Office
On campus and needing something to eat but not wanting to spend money. Going to, though, as I need something to eat. The two pieces of pizza I had before coming to campus was obviously not enough. Still have a little shot of coffee left, will save for class. And now I’m just here in this bloody shared office. So what to do but write, but about what, about how I’m utterly ready to be done as an adjunct? Finished client request work and now I’m just in the mood to vent. Well, not vent necessarily just declare where I’m going, and that’s away from “the profession”. I wrote about that years ago, when I was at Napa Valley College, how one of the instructors, one of the full-timers obviously, was speaking horribly about an adjunct that left “the profession”. The profession…the profession, she kept saying. Like it’s the only profession, like how dare this adjunct leave. How dare? It’s the system that dared her to leave, by never guaranteeing assignments, and never giving her a full-time position even after all her years of experience. That’s a dual-sided dare, to either stay like this, a starving adjunct the rest of your life, or leave altogether. The latter, selected. Good for her.
I’m not leaving the profession, even though that’s very much what these mock-professionals would be swiftly indifferent to. They don’t care if we stay, go, come, come and go, have work outside the building’s wall. Adjuncts are itinerant. We’re like mold that they scrape away and it keeps growing back. We’re part of this larger mold, “higher” education. Yeah I know I’m starting to sound a little bitter, but can you blame me? Maybe you can, but the ‘me’ in that sentence is making it work for him. From now on, one class a semester just for the couple extra bucks, and it’s literally only a couple or a couple more than a couple, and the writing material. And, most of most important-importante importantly’s, the students. They are the sole rationale for me being here. The meeting I just finished, with the English 100 students, over in Maggini Hall across campus, with all their ideas for the upcoming paper and how certain ideas can link with other ideas from other students on all sides of the room. They build their own community in the class, their class— I never call it “my class”. That’s just bloody arrogant.
Looking right, on this desk that’s not really a desk but one of those clerical stations you’d find at like a call-center or something (worked in one of those before, but before teaching, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these adjuncts did something like that one the side or as primary income, for benefits and to have primary, dependable income). Feel like I should be making calls, or stapling something, or filing, or answer a call then transferring to some other extension… Can hear myself in a character change, “Okay… transferring your call…” See? Now I’m getting loopy, goofy, with that hunger delirious wobble and swirl. What do I do?