A Labyrinth of being an Adjunct
At 24 going on 25, I was hired. I was incredibly excited that I was going to be a college professor. I could not believe that I was living my dream. I was teaching at two community colleges. As I was just beginning a Ph.D. program, I was very excited about my future.
Ten years later and tens of applications with three more degrees and presentations at various conferences, along with hours and hours sitting in trainings and committees – I am still an adjunct.
Every hiring season, when I still do not land a job, I self-reflect: Is my teaching philosophy statement unique enough? Is it too long? What if I made it a design and not a long essay? Is my CV to long? Should I take some of my experience off? What about my cover letter? Can I make it shorter?
When I recently sat on a hiring committee, I discovered that there are dozens of others who has not done half as much with resumes and cover letters that are littered with errors, which makes me still wonder – if this is my competition, then why am I not being hired?
Oh, but I am being hired to do one thing – adjunct. That first adjunct job blossomed to two adjunct jobs to now blooming to eight adjunct jobs. Yes, I teach at eight different campuses because a class may be canceled and then I am left with a drop in my monthly income. So, I have never taught at eight different schools in one semester, but in theory, I could.
Every school have great students that I fall in love with, and I then fall in love with the community. I envy the faculty that could go to all of the events on campus. I even envy the faculty that does not have to watch the clock in order to ensure that I must finish class at this time, talk to only 2.5 students for X amount of time only to make it to the next class.
I think of the amount of committees that I have sat on to help develop curriculum, the student programs I have started, and the student clubs I have mentored…I know that I could do more. I have visions of doing more. Yet, I don’t have one thing – time. I do not have time to attend all of these great talks and to even have a plethora of student meetings with pages of feedback because I am tired. I have to drive to the next school that is 15-40 miles away in LA traffic.
Every hiring season, I am further depressed not because I am stressed over my income, but because I can’t demonstrate my true value because the only thing that I spend more time every day is in the car, driving. I believe the students want more of me and need more of me, yet these colleges I love so much are satisfied with naming me Adjunct of the Year (I am very appreciative), but I struggle to even have an interview.
I had a full-time faculty tell me that bringing my portfolios with my course design and my accolades is me trying too hard. So, in this world of academia, being over prepared is trying too hard. So, I need to have poor writing skills and be underprepared and less innovative in order to be hired?