Friday, September 02, 2005

Leap of Faith

Not that moving to Boston wasn't a leap of faith - but I've decided to take that leap and make it a huge jump. I got a call Thursday from one of the community colleges I was teaching at -- one of my classes was taken away. I've been set up to adjunct at two colleges. "Adjunct" is the term commonly used for instructors who don't have a full time/tenure job- the "fill-ins" for extra classes. For the record, there's usually only about 6-10 full time instructors for every roughly 40-60 adjuncts- that's 40-60 people, who, like me, are paid 1/3 less than their full time counterparts and have no benefits. The numbers vary per college, but there's always at least triple the adjuncts for full-timers.

"My" class was taken away because- being new, and thus having NO seniority, a full-time person who is guaranteed a full-time job, had to be given my class because enrollment was low. That's another beautiful factor of adjuncting- even though you may sign a contract, if student enrollment is too low and a class won't fill, an adjunct can lose his/her job right before, during, or after a course starts. This on top of the fact that I have no job security other than that semester or quarter that I have the class (provided it isn't cancelled or given away). I teach the class, hope that I do well enough to be considered to teach the next term and hope that there is a class for me to teach. Ed said that my position is similiar to those men who wait in Belltown (Seattle) or at Home Depot near the Starbucks' headquarters, hoping to pick up some labor gigs. Except, I'm on the corner every couple of months with a sign: "Hey, you need an English or Writing class taught?"

I'm fed up. I like teaching and I'm good at it, but this is ridiculous. I can't take the instability anymore. So, with the goal of financial and job security in sight, I've made a decision that rocks our foundation even more than the move: I called both colleges and told them I'm not going to be able to teach ANY classes. Yeah, it's a bit crazy to turn away a job and turn towards no job, but considering that the first time I would even get paid is mid-October (yeah, SIX weeks after I started teaching), I figure I can find a good, full-time job with benefits that will pay what I'm worth (or relatively close) and get paid around then, anyway.

It will be interesting to see what happens. I am surprisingly calm (shock?) and confident (cocky?) about this decision, though also anxious about the details. But, if anything this last week has taught me, is that the details will work themselves out- sometimes painfully, sometimes with ease. Besides, if thousands of people like those in the Mississippi Gulf are finding ways to survive, I've got absolutely nothing to complain about.



  1. laura, jack, ed...give kisses to eachother every day.
    laura...brave and wise. you will be taken care of. so good to hear your voice on the machine. i'll be calling you in the morning.

  2. Anonymous10:26 PM

    You go girl!
    It's great to see you put your foot down at being exploited by the CC's.
    Sometimes we just don't need that kind of roller coaster ride in our lives!

    You're all in our prayers.


  3. Laura, you rock! Any Bostonian would be LUCKY to employ someone so funny, smart, thoughtful, wise, charming, and beautiful. Just keep that in mind when you are helping them assess your "worth."

  4. Sara Maxwell9:38 AM

    Good for you, Laura. It's like going on strike, just like the Boeing employees. Oh, except they already get benefits...retirement...and more money per hour than we could ever make with our silly little Master's degrees. You ARE an awesome teacher. Better than I ever could be. Don't forget that, and good luck.