Here's a roundup of links to consider if you're an adjunct who's considering leaving, or if you're thinking about adjuncting as part of your post-academic plan. Adjuncting is easy to fall into, especially for those of us who find teaching an immensely rewarding life and would like it to be our career (after all, that's why a lot of us went to grad school). But it has obvious pitfalls and perils that can make it unsustainable or unappealing as a post-ac career. Here's some wisdom from around the web.
Amanda Krauss @ WorstProfessorEver deconstructs some myths about teaching as a vocational calling, part 1 and part 2. Krauss writes:
I don’t believe teaching is a vocation. I believe it’s vocational, as in something you can train people to do. As in something you could treat as a means to make money, and actively sell as a lucrative career to talented individuals. And something that you’d damn well better train people to do well, because if you count only on people being born to do it and wiling to accept lousy pay for it, you’re going to get what you pay for.
Krauss continues by bluntly questioning the notion that an individual teacher can truly make a difference in the current system of higher education in this post. She writes:
This is why I left. I decided that there was no way in hell that any individual teacher could make a whit of difference within this behemoth and nonfunctional system. I also deduced that teaching — real teaching — was a product no one wanted in this consumer-driven culture. No “customer” ever wants to be told they’re average or their project sucks and needs to be started all over again, especially by a real person instead of a computer. Making those computers do stuff, on the other hand…well, that looked like something that would continue to be in demand.
In "Down With the Academic Martyr," Caroline Roberts urges us to be more selfish, arguing " it is time for teachers to set boundaries and expect them to be followed. It’s one thing to do your best, but it’s quite another to let people take advantage of you."
Karen Kelsky @ TheProfessorIsIn compares adjuncting to Stockholm Syndrome:
Stop with the “alas”! You don’t need to tell me this is an ends justify the means argument. But seriously, throwing yourself personally on the sacrificial altar of student care does not change a fundamentally exploitative system. Your job is to protect yourself.
Be sure to check out the adjunct-focused sites on our "Resources" sidebar to the left. What we discuss here is just the tip of the iceberg.