Into the Wild: Moving Away from Adjunct Teaching

I’ve been far more distracted from the blog and pleasurable writing than I intended being this year. My days and nights have been filled with the unpleasant tasks of composing cover letters and carefully filling out online applications.

I made the difficult decision to walk away from adjunct teaching this semester. In some ways it was an easy choice and, in light of other considerations, possibly a big mistake. The contradiction doesn’t make it any different from other resolutions in life; there’s always an element of risk. I’m a curious person that, though pragmatic, takes no issue with exploring the unknown. While it sounds like I’m heading off into space or doing something of grave importance, it is employment and monetary stability. In other words, small in the grand scheme of things, but looms large in the matter of my existence.

While the stories of hardships in being an adjunct are well-documented, though their sharing has not yet translated into the momentum for action, this isn’t where I’m going to focus. My tale isn’t an indictment of “the system” or any other lofty target, but instead about my quest.

To summarize, there were opportunities to teach film courses that dissolved due to separate reasons. Reliability is not a benefit you get in being an adjunct and I’ve accepted this for a while. I traded dependability and regularity to teach a subject I was passionate about and I don’t regret it. In light of the film courses evaporating, I had to have an honest discussion with myself about where I was at, where I had been, and where I was going. In hashing out the past, present, and future, I came to the conclusion that in the past 4 years not much had changed for the better nor had more opportunities become accessible to me. In some areas, there were even regressions, less film courses than before being an important one, that forced me to make a change, and throw myself into finding a more sustainable model of living. I want to have a family, have a regular schedule, and be an integral part of something where I’m not easily, and forgettably, exchangeable.

Though I still had the opportunity to continue teaching First Year Experience courses, the commitment would involve having a schedule with classes landing on Monday and Wednesday in the mid-morning and Tuesday and Thursday in the late afternoon as subscribed by contract through May. Not ideal when you need to find another job.

And so here I am. In a constant state of applying and searching. There are many opportunities out there and a lot I’m excited about for the future. Eventually, I won’t have to fret over cover letters or fill out tedious applications, but for now I need to accept it. I probably need to carve out more regular reprieves like this one to make my way through it.

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