A few months ago, I was an adjunct professor. I adored my job and I enjoyed the material I taught. Most of all, I loved my students. I was extremely lucky to get the spot as an adjunct since my teaching experience prior to that was limited. Since Boston's population is especially top-heavy with advanced degrees, I was even more fortunate, given our geography, to get that hot little ticket.
So I'm not complaining.
It was challenging, though. For all the reasons that you hear adjunct work can stink. Paychecks just barely exceeding the cost of daycare. No health bennies. In my case, my students' lives were constantly interrupted by the weighty issues of life, translating to constant interruptions in the semester and during our class meetings.
The other downside of adjunct work is the pervasive feeling of disconnectedness. The lack of typical departmental responsibilities can be liberating, but when you want to meet with a student and your only options are a busy student lounge where people are trying to get their tutoring/flirtation ON, you can feel a little frustrated/demeaned.
With all these remembrances of my life as an adjunct, I begin my full-time assistant professorship with joy, hope, and encouragement. I am so head-shakingly blessed.
This was my adjunct mailbox. My name was typed and printed on a magnetic strip so that at the end of the semester, it could be easily removed.
Oh hai! Just doing big important things in my office!