Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm flattered. Really.

During my first year of grad school, I worked as an administrative assistant, meaning that I did any number of duties around the department from copies to sorting mail to proofreading a couple profs' manuscripts to processing rejections for our literary journal.

One afternoon, one of the young-ish, shaggy-haired philosophy profs leaned over my desk, flashed me a brilliant smile, and said with all appearances of sincerity, "[Twit], did I ever mention that you're my favorite person?"

"Oh?" I asked absent-mindedly, half pre-occupied with whatever task I was doing. "Why's that?"

The answer came in a huge stack of books with selected chapters marked for photocopying.

Flash forward a couple years and a master's degree later.

I've accepted two teaching gigs* teaching two separate courses at two different campuses for a total of four courses**. The two campuses are about an hour apart, so I teach at one on MWF and teach (and tutor) at the other on TR. It works out pretty well, in theory. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

So, a few weeks ago, I got my schedule hammered out for MWF. TR courses hadn't been assigned, but I had the other department chair's word that she was "working on" the course schedule. MWF promises to be good--neither class is too early, which is good for the students and good for Ms. I'm-no-good-without-a-pot-of-coffee-in-my-bloodstream Twit. By the way, my supervisor-to-be told me, we had to open one more section of the class than we anticipated, due to enrollment demands. You come highly recommended, so we thought we'd offer it to you first, since we couldn't give you any other sections before. Peachy. It'd actually work out better in terms of pay, only... it was TR. I thanked her profusely, explained that I had other scheduling conflicts, and gas prices to consider, but again, thanks.

A couple weeks ago, I talked with the department chair for my TR schedule. We set it up with few hitches, and she seemed quite glad to have me back on board. Today, a voicemail. A couple courses were still in need of instructors, "and I want good instructors--would you be able to take the 102 on MWF at...?" Barring that, could I recommend anyone else, other instructors, people I know from grad school, etc.? She entrusts both my teaching and my judgment. A little daunting, there.

It's flattering, that they both have faith enough in my teaching abilities. And I know it's nothing to sneeze at, being offered more classes than I could possibly handle (or schedule, for that matter) whilst still maintaining my sometimes-fragile sense of sanity. But egads, this adjunct life is a strange one. I'm getting better at knowing my limits, and I also know that if I had a family to support, I'd be scrambling for every class that was available to me. Right now, though, I've got the same course load as a member of full-time faculty***--I don't need to add to it.

* - If it'll help you, dear readers, not to make the rash assumption that I am utterly insane, I will not mention that I still work part-time as a tutor. So ignore this tiny print, and stop brandishing that straitjacket at me.
** - Total enrollment count: 86. Course type: composition. Sanity prognosis: poor. Again, away with that straitjacket. I don't need it. Yet.
*** - Heavier, actually, I would argue, given that full-timers get to teach literature courses, which have lower enrollment caps and different grading demands.****
**** - I'm really not whining right now. It just sounds like it. One degree or another, I will get my butt back in grad school for a terminal degree. And dude, my asterisks have asterisks. How meta is that.


Shay said...

If she trusts your teaching and your judgement, you can tell her "no" and still get a job with her next semester.

If she's merely buttering you up to see how much **** you will stand for, well then....

Overeducated Twit said...

Oh, I like the department chair, and I'm pretty sure it's mutual--security, inasmuch as adjuncting entails, is not a concern there. She had no problem when I explained that I already had a class at that same hour away.