Another semester begins

As the spring semester begins, once again I am unprepared. I have a draft of a syllabus, partially ready, and nothing more. Classes begin on Tuesday, less than a week from now, and I am still not sure what I will be teaching.

We schedule our staff months in advance. My name appears next to four classes on the schedule. Students who use online professor rating tools, or students who have had a class with me and want to take another class with me, believe that they can rely on the listings. They can’t.

The full-time professor in our department has low enrollment. This means he gets to take classes from my colleagues and/or from me. This means that even though students may have chosen not to sign up for his classes and chose my class – or another adjunct’s class – instead, will end up with another teacher. There is nothing any of us can do about this.

Meanwhile, I have prepared nothing for classes I may or may not actually teach. I have spent enough of my precious, uncompensated time preparing material for a course that was re-assigned to my full-time colleague at the last minute. My students – if they are ultimately to be my students – will have to wait.

How do you handle the uncertainty of the schedule?

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