Friday, November 4, 2011

Finding More Work

UVU offered me one section of ENG 1010 (the same class I'm teaching three sections of this semester) for next semester, which I wish to assert that I am very grateful for; however, it's not really enough to pay the bills, even with working at the middle school. (Even when teaching three of those courses, as well as my position as an assistant at the middle school, it's not quite enough, but it's closer to being enough than what it will be next semester.)

Obviously UVU doesn't need to offer me anything; adjuncting is a hairy business because there are external factors that can affect any particular adjunct's continuing to teach there (student enrollment, the number of specific courses being offered in one's department, schedule flexibility/availability, other adjuncts' availability, seniority.). On top of that, in my situation teaching at UVU (more money and actually teaching; being in charge of my own classroom) is not any more or less important than working at the middle school (a non-zero chance at gaining full-time employment and the liklihood of working there indefinitely, which even as an assistant which a steady stream of some manner of income not based on the factors I face at UVU). 

In education, such flexibility of schedule can work either for you or against you. I can't change my availability at the middle school; there are other teachers involved, as well as the reading program that, once scheduled, is scheduled for specific days throughout the year and can't be changed on a whim. (Such changes are more likely to be made at the beginning of the school year.) 

Fortunately, the class I've been offered is a late afternoon class, so I'm beginning to ramp up the job search. I'm looking into substituting at a neighboring school district, which is scheduling their last substitute teacher orientation at a time that partially conflicts with a class I teach at UVU. I'll drop off the paperwork this afternoon and explain the situation, and hope that some compromise can be agreed upon; in the meantime, I'll look into getting a third (and possibly fourth) job.

Flexible teaching is touted as this really great thing that allows people to maintain work-life balances, or balance other professional obligations, but it's really difficult trying to piece together something even vaguely resembling a full-time job when one has to work two or three jobs.

During the UVU orientation at the beginning of the year, someone from administration said (a bit gloatingly, I thought) that most adjuncts wouldn't want a full-time job teaching at UVU, because teaching is their secondary or tertiary obligation. I was really annoyed at hearing that; it dismisses those of us who desperately want full-time teaching work but can't find it, despite being on the job market for years. Adjuncting is certainly miles better than nothing, but being really anxious at the end of each semester because I don't know how much of an income I may or may not have is severaly affecting my future.

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