Realities of Adjuncting

In Houston, TX I taught as many as 6 composition courses per semester. Usually the pay was right around $1,500 per course, though one school paid $2,500. You can’t have a middle class lifestyle on that amount of money unless you have a spouse who makes a good wage. (I did.)

The $1,500/course included courses that the adjuncts had to create from scratch.

In fact, there was no differentiation between courses that used only scantron grading and courses where students wrote dozens of papers that needed to be read, commented on, and returned.

I was talking to a friend who has now been an adjunct for three (maybe four) years. She said, “I realize I will probably never get a full-time position. I look at all these young graduate students and I want to tell them, ‘No! Stop. Don’t do it.'” She is smart, highly regarded as a teacher, and dedicated.

But she may be right. She may not ever get a full-time position. Most adjuncts don’t.

One thought on “Realities of Adjuncting”

  1. I’ve been teaching English composition, literature and communication courses as an adjunct for three years now. I am also a PhD Candidate, and I hope to graduate this fall. I am seriously looking for full-time work. So far, no such luck. I have been producing scholarship, but nothing has been published or accepted for presentation yet. I know that it is difficult to be hired full-time, yet I don’t think it is impossible. I know of a number of colleagues who have been hired as tenure faculty recently. It can happen, but the wheels seem to move very, very slowly. My schools prefer to hire adjuncts so the full-time positions are few and far between. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog as you express some of the frustration I have encountered when teaching FYC courses. I haven’t figured out the “magic bullet” yet, that one thing that will work, but it is nice to read about other teachers and their experiences to realize we are all in the same boat.

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