Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Unpaid Labor

I've been quiet on the blogging front, largely because I write as a means of either sharing travel adventures, or writing to process that which is on my mind. Earlier today, a former classmate shared "Want to Be a 'Volunteer Adjunct'? Southern Illinois U. is Hiring," which is exactly as it sounds like: It looks like Southern Illinois University is trying to hire part-time/contingent faculty and not pay them. Those who would would "join the SIU Graduate Faculty in a zero-time (adjunct) status." Those who accept these "three-year positions might serve on graduate students' thesis committees, teach graduate or undergraduate lectures, or collaborate on research projects."

I want to note that I primarily teach Concurrent Enrollment classes at my high school, and I genuinely love it. I love that I can combine a background in secondary education (not ARL - getting my teaching license by going through a teacher education program as an undergrad) with my background in first-year composition (FYC); this is, I think, an extremely rare combination, which made it really difficult to get a full-time job. It took me eight years after graduating with my undergraduate degree, until I was finally hired because of this experience, as opposed to being underemployed, because I had too much of the wrong type of experience.

I like to think I helped build up the two FYC classes that are now offered at the school where I teach. The teacher who taught one of the classes was not interested, and for a variety of reasons, her students would drop her class. (In the second part of the year, she had two students in her class.) Two years ago, I taught four sections of English 1010 (Introduction to Writing), two classes per semester; last year, I taught four sections of English 1010 and three sections of English 2010 (Intermediate Writing). This year, I taught five sections of English 1010 and three sections of English 2010.

Next year, I'll teach six sections of English 1010 and four sections of English 2010. The schedule may change, but I'm the only teacher in the school teaching, or able to teach these classes.

I am considered a Concurrent Enrollment Adjunct, although I also teach English 1010 and 2010 at the local community college, so I'm two different types of adjunct for the same community college, and I'll be teaching at least 11 of these courses next year. I'm paid a $200/course stipend as a Concurrent Enrollment Adjunct from the community college.

I'm a big fan of community colleges; my education started at one, as did my teaching career (serendipitously, my first teaching job was at the same community college I attended and graduated from after high school). I've been an adjunct at three different colleges - four, if one counts the university that offered me a one-semester graduate student fellowship. My job is definitely being outsourced, and for me, it's worked out wonderfully, given how strongly I support concurrent enrollment programs, but I have to wonder what the connection is between concurrent enrollment, not paying adjunct (effectively looking for a highly educated, even-more-underpaid faculty), and the (attempted?) shenanigans put forth by Southern Illinois University.