Insecurity of Adjunct Instructor

I’ve been very thankful to have the opportunity to serve as an adjunct instructor, at two different colleges, within the past year. Nevertheless, there are unique challenges associated with serving as an adjunct instructor.

Most importantly, there isn’t much job security with having an adjunct teaching opportunity. For example, I taught Abnormal Psychology at a nearby university last fall.

This spring semester, I would have been very interested in teaching this same class again, at the same university. I created all of the multiple-choice, as well as short-answer, questions for all three of the examinations that students were required to take for this course.

Writing three unique examinations involved a significant amount of time to complete. However, they didn’t offer a second section of Abnormal Psychology this spring semester.

I’m currently teaching General Psychology, at a local community college’s satellite campus. I have absolutely no idea if I’ll be able to teach General Psychology again for this community college, either at its main location, or at one of its satellite campuses.

Each new adjunct position requires a learning curve, of course. Each college and/or university has its own particular form of online access for its students.

Adjunct instructors need to become very familiar with using this form of communication. Using online instruction involves the creation of a new user I.D. and password, of course.

Becoming an adjunct instructor requires the completion of all of the necessary forms that required for new employees. For example, new employees must receive a form of photo I.D.

Adjunct instructors need to become familiar with the particular equipment, used by any given classroom, for projecting Power Point presentations. Sometimes, this requires bringing a personal laptop for each session of the course being taught.

An adjunct may or may not have an allocated office space where they are teaching. If they do not have such space, one must remember to bring all necessary materials to class, each and every week.

All of the above challenges need to be successfully completed, should an adjunct be interested in the possibility of future teaching opportunities. Nevertheless, adjunct teaching positions are notorious for being low-paying, and without benefits.

Working as an adjunct has been an extremely challenging, as well as a deeply rewarding, experience. Both of my adjunct teaching positions have been marked by needing to have throat dilatation surgeries, for my highly recurrent, idiopathic subglottic stenosis.

It’s been very challenging to teach a class each week, especially in the context of experiencing increased shortness of breath. Attempting to schedule each of my surgeries has been difficult, since I haven’t wanted to need to cancel class for my students.

Nevertheless, I haven’t had complete control over when my surgeon is available to perform surgery, nor when the hospital’s surgical suite is available for reserving a surgery date. My next throat dilatation surgery is scheduled for a Tuesday; two days later, I’ll need to be lecturing.

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