In Houston, TX I taught as many as 6 composition courses per semester. Usually the pay was right around $1,500 per course, though one school paid $2,500. You can’t have a middle class lifestyle on that amount of money unless you have a spouse who makes a good wage. (I did.)
The $1,500/course included courses that the adjuncts had to create from scratch.
In fact, there was no differentiation between courses that used only scantron grading and courses where students wrote dozens of papers that needed to be read, commented on, and returned.
I was talking to a friend who has now been an adjunct for three (maybe four) years. She said, “I realize I will probably never get a full-time position. I look at all these young graduate students and I want to tell them, ‘No! Stop. Don’t do it.'” She is smart, highly regarded as a teacher, and dedicated.
But she may be right. She may not ever get a full-time position. Most adjuncts don’t.