I was reading Joanne Jacobs and she was discussing a whole discourse on academia. I read most of the related links on several websites, enjoying the discussion and recognizing salient points from different perspectives.
All of which I want to mention particularly because it made me feel â€¦ stupid. The discussions were articulate, well-developed, and coherent. Okay, that didnâ€™t make me feel stupid. I can read/write those.
But I donâ€™t think about the unfairness of tenure anymore (if I ever did) or the overwhelmingly slanted workload/pay of adjuncts. Iâ€™m an adjunct. I gave up a tenure track position I was fairly certain of maintaining to follow my husband to a different job. I have not applied for a tenure track position where we now live because I am busy. Too busy to be a full-time teacher with a schedule I donâ€™t get to pick. I can be a full-time teacher getting part-time pay, if I get to pick the schedule. The discussions seemed mired in a reality I vaguely recall from grad school (I have a PhD.).
The vocabulary is wide. So is mine. But I donâ€™t use those words on a regular basis, at least not any more. I tend to use words that those around me understand, or words that I think they understand. And I donâ€™t hang around with academics anymore.
I miss academia. I miss the push to produce papers, which I got in grad school but not in my tenure track position. I miss the encouragement of others who are wanting to learn as much as I do. I miss talking to other people about my work.
But if I read back through my blogs, or you do, you wonâ€™t find deep discussions. Youâ€™ll find grumpy low-level disgruntlement at whiny students and complaining parents. Youâ€™ll find discussions of grades (I do try not to inflate. That was one thing my tenure track position didnâ€™t agree with me on.). Youâ€™ll find someone who feels overworked, just like the adjuncts always are.
You wonâ€™t find someone who feels reviled, demeaned, or put-upon by their level in the academic society. Maybe that is because I am unaware of my place, though I doubt it. Maybe it is because my colleges donâ€™t punish adjuncts by giving them the scut assignments. EVERYONE gets the scut assignments. (That is definitely true.) Maybe it is because I am naive in thinking that this is the way it has always been for adjuncts.
I wish it werenâ€™t. It would be nice to get paid, not just for the hours I spend in the classroom, but for at least some of the hours I spend grading papers. Instead, I spend six hours a week in the classroom and generally at least that many working on essays. Realistically, if the colleges paid for that, theyâ€™d have much higher tuitions and probably fewer students. (At least at the community college level.)
But, then again, the school I was in a tenure track for had, maybe, one adjunct position per department. They just werenâ€™t there. The full-time faculty was not well paid, but they were full time. Adjuncts came in only for unusual jumps and, if it turned out to be a permanent jump, then the adjuncts were hired on full time.
I suppose my position might be unique, but I donâ€™t think it is. Anyway, my position, or even my feelings about it, arenâ€™t reallly the point. The point is, my discussions on this blog do not wax philosophical. Theyâ€™re just day to day shower and shampoo kind of discussions.
Is that bad? And why do I think it might be? â€“Those are thoughts I intend to pursue, even if I donâ€™t blog about them.