Every semester, I don’t know which days or hours I will teach the next semester. I usually teach 2 sections, but I don’t know which hours or days. It makes planning extremely difficult. For two semesters, I taught 1 morning course and 1 evening course – but last semester, they switched the days of the week on me at the last minute. I was thanked for being so accommodating. So my reward was to lose 1 course for this semester. This means I lost more than half, because when an adjunct teaches only 1 course, she/he loses the extra hour’s pay (and service credit) for the office hour. This is not fair or nice to me.
So I lost the course and office hour – why? They put someone new in to teach my other section. So this person and I each teach only 1 section and they save the cost of the office hour.
It’s hard to have relationships with other faculty members when you are only on campus for a little more than an hour a couple of times a week. Meetings are often on days I’m not there.
My evaluations are always high. I have been told that prospective graduate students say they want to go on because of my course. I’ve attended department meetings, helped out on all sorts of things, never complained about weird schedules, and this is how I’m treated.
Then, they wanted the course re-designed and nobody was “able” to meet with me or even have a phone meeting. Finally, on my own, I contacted another adjunct who teaches the course, and over the phone and in person (we came to campus during the summer, without any pay), we redesigned the course. We both felt that we were being exploited. The alternative was to have department folks who have not taught the course do it for us, and we both have professional pride. So we bit the bullet and did it, but not happily. AND we have not been thanked for it, either!
A few years ago, in the fall semester, I was asked in late September to teach 2 courses in the spring and I agreed. After Thanksgiving, one was taken away. No other course was available for me. This meant that I had to pay my own health insurance – nearly $750 per month that I hadn’t budgeted for, from February through August. I was also told there was only 1 course for me in that coming fall semester. So, in August, I sent emails to every branch of CUNY asking for another course, and I was very fortunate to find one. I spent that fall semester rushing between two campuses for the health insurance. I was always in a rush and could not meet with students. I left a few minutes early from the first campus (with permission) and try as I might, I often arrived a few minutes late and breathless to the second campus. Of course, that did impact my classroom performance.
Other than that semester, I have worked very hard to try to separate my feelings toward the situation from my classroom work. I’ve coped as best as I can, but it makes life very difficult.
Yesterday, I was asked to teach 2 sections for next semester – one two mornings weekly and the other two different evenings weekly. The idea that someone would be willing to travel across a county and over a bridge (or take 4 subway trains) in each direction 4 days of the week for one class per day is absurd.
So, my coping is that I’ve scheduled a pre-retirement meeting with the PSC and as much as I love being in the classroom, it’s time to think of myself for a change. If I can get 1 consulting day per month, it will make up the loss of salary, and I won’t have to spend my life driving back and forth and marking all of those papers.
Your survey couldn’t have come at a more significant time. I have stayed and worked so many weird schedules for the health insurance, but I have hit the major milestone – I have Medicare now and can afford to be a little bit more independent.
I have never felt this way until this semester. But the aggregate of being so taken advantage of has really gotten to me. It will be a loss to my students who keep in touch for years and who said I’ve made a major impact on their lives. That and the health insurance made the whole thing worth it for several years. But enough is enough. I think this will be my last semester at CUNY. I am sorry about this whole thing. I enjoy teaching and I enjoy my students, but I don’t enjoy the way I’m being treated and I don’t have to accept it.