Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

The Accidental Adjunct

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

The Accidental Adjunct

Article excerpt

Strange glances were coming my way. Slowly, I set up my materials at the lone teacher's desk in front of the classroom. Nervousness hit my stomach. Could I really do this? Could I really teach a graduate level college class? Someone in the back of the room said, "Oh Professor, is this 'Problems and Issues of Special Education Research'?"

I looked behind me to see who had walked into the room. It occurred to me that all the eyes were focused on me. Thunder struck! They were addressing me! I was the Professor. The silence was deafening. It occurred to me that the professor listed in the bulletin was a young, tall, Indian woman who had her doctorate and wore beautiful saris.

This short, freckled middle-aged Caucasian woman was not what the students expected.

Three weeks earlier the phone call had come. Out of the blue, Dr. K. had left a message on my machine. A few of my professors thought I had a talent for teaching at the college level. The scheduled professor had a personal emergency. Could I teach the class? The course outline was in the mail. It would be a challenge that would expand my professional horizons, according to my respected teachers.

So with two weeks to go before classes started, I dug out my notebook and old textbook and set up a class outline and syllabus. Luckily, a dear friend had joined the world of adjuncts the year before. She guided me through the ups and downs of setting up a syllabus. It was amazing how daunting it was to be on the other side of the podium. How many course outlines had I read? What had been my pet peeve? Oh yes, how out of touch with the real world of teaching some of my professors had been.

The world of an adjunct is unique. We teach one or two classes a week. With the high demand for education, we provide a valuable service to the colleges, universities, and evening students. …

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