Long time no post

September 15, 2013 at 7:25 am (Uncategorized)

In an incredibly short period of time, things changed drastically for me. I went from being severely underemployed and making no progress on my degree due to rent-paying activities (and seriously thinking this was the end of the road for me and academia) to being employed full time at an actual university, teaching. The upside is JOB! Paycheck! Benefits! Not having to grieve academia!

The downside is that as a non-TT instructor, I am *buried* in freshmen and in freshman comp papers (interspersed with occasional Brit Lit students’ quizzes) and it looks like this will be the status quo for the foreseeable future (assuming my contract gets renewed next year). So I’m still not making any progress on my degree. I’m also not getting any more sleep than I was in grad school. But I am holding out hope that next semester will be easier (no new preps and only two comp sections instead of three – that will make a huge difference, seriously). So I guess I’ll sleep in January!

Anyway, not complaining – no time to complain! – but so busy that I’m often a bit delirious. Still – delirious with a paycheck sure beats delirious and on the verge of starvation any day.

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2 Comments

  1. Curt Emanuel said,

    First, congratulations on your employment. Your comments bring back memories from long ago – not just the prior century but the prior millennium! I received a year(10-month actually) contract to teach at a college and the freshman low-level courses I had to teach which nobody else wanted were somewhat staggering(as were the papers, both for quantity and lack of quality).

    My hope is that your second year goes better than mine. In my case the young ;lady who took a year off to get married and have a baby decided, contrary to expectations, that spending all her time at home, even with a new child, was not everything she thought it would be and came back so I was peddling my resume fairly quickly. This was during an economic recovery (and one where people were actually hiring) so my period of unemployment was basically nothing.

    The only tragedy was that I’d done all my course prep work and had the students, or at least the freshmen/women, trained to write in complete sentences and to where they could structure a paragraph, if not an entire essay. I’m afraid this contribution to humanity of mine was short-lived. ;)

    • Karma said,

      “courses I had to teach which nobody else wanted were somewhat staggering(as were the papers, both for quantity and lack of quality)”

      Boy do I know all the words to this song! But I am hopeful about next semester, and about actually being able to make progress towards completing the PhD; the difference between 75 comp students and 50 comp students is indeed significant. I should have a little more time. Who even knows about next year – I’m just trying to make it to next semester right now!

      I wasn’t hired to replace anyone on leave, at least – the university has seen increased enrollment such that more comp sections were needed, and the department is at least making a real effort to hire non-TT but FT instructors and pay them a living wage + benefits rather than just staff all those classes with adjuncts. There is still plenty of adjunct exploitation going on, as everywhere, but I’m glad to be part of a department that is doing as much as possible to avoid that exploitation and to create tenable alternatives even without the funding for TT lines. But the student work – well, I’ve only been teaching comp for 8 years now, but in 8 years I’ve seen a big change for the worse in the level of preparation that most students arrive with. Grading gets a little more time consuming every year, seems like.

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