Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?

It’s hard to imagine that a little over a year ago I was sending out numerous job applications.

I’ve officially been at UConn for a year now and I was just made a permanent employee. I think I’m still getting used to how fortunate I am to have a job where I get to sit down with faculty and students to discuss their research and then write about it to share with other people. I’m looking forward to putting together video projects in the near future to accompany my articles. I’ll have much more energy to devote to that now that I’m into the summer and done with teaching and taking a class.

While my teaching schedule for the fall is lined up with two First Year Experience (FYE) courses at Three Rivers Community College (TRCC), I received an unexpected email that changed things.

Manchester Community College (MCC) reached out and was interested in having me teach their Film Study & Appreciation course. It’s the equivalent of the Introduction to Film that I’ve taught at TRCC and that class has struggled to get enough students for it to run recently.

I’m comfortable to teach as much as possible, but I am limited in that, as an adjunct faculty member, I can only teach two courses total.

So, the debate began over whether I should stay at TRCC with two FYE sections or split myself between TRCC and MCC and teach one at each.

It’s hard to decide because classes do get cancelled so if I stick with a section that gets the axe, then I’m left with only one class (or none). Community colleges experience late enrollments compared to other institutions so it’s hard to know exactly how things might shake out. FYE sections are incredibly reliable to run at TRCC because they are required for nearly every program but, needless to say, the prospect of teaching film is much more personally fulfilling. It helped to know that the film class at MCC is a requirement for their degree programs, as opposed to TRCC. While I’m nervous about the inevitable consolidation of the community colleges, it’ll be a relief that discrepancies like this will likely be resolved.

I chose to go where my passion lay, that’s always been my guiding principle, and teach FYE at TRCC and film at MCC for the fall.

That resolves this semester, but making a decision is going to be even more difficult in the spring. At TRCC, Introduction to Film will run again and I may have the opportunity to teach Video Filmmaking. There will also be FYE sections running. Then there’s whatever the future holds at MCC. I’ve expressed interest in teaching public speaking there as well, which was positively received.

And I always have to ask myself, how much do I want to commute?

At least everything is anchored by the stability of UConn (and it’s flexibility in regards to my schedule) and the dependability of our Junkyard Heartstrings bookings.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching, but it’s not going to make or break anything if a course gets cancelled or teaching a particular class doesn’t work out as planned. Enough things have happened since I began teaching five years ago that I’m emotionally prepared by this point. Still, I’d like to feel as though I got it right.


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