Friday, October 19, 2007

It's hard to remain silent

Those of you who have been following the saga of my adjuncting, have heard me say that I will walk away from it, leave the fight behind, protest in silence. Well, silence is hard. I've been toying with the idea of drafting a letter (most likely an "open letter") to be sent to the chancellor at Lemon.

This is wrong. Sure, I can walk away from it. But it doesn't gladden me. It's not pleasant to walk away from the students who thank me for coming to teach at their school. It's not easy to leave behind those faces of curiosity. God, what it means to inspire these kids! To see the aha on their faces! I am angry. I am angry that I am pushed away from that world.

But I know it is these same students (as well as me) who are being short-changed by the policies. 40 students in a class, with one teacher, no TA. Times 2, and only part-time. Are the students worth so little, that an instructor should gloss over their work? Is the time for consultations with students so disregarded that (though it is required) it doesn't count towards time spent by the instructor.

In industry, when a highly skilled consultant works part-time, they are accommodated with significantly higher pay (say 2-3 times higher) than their full-time colleagues' hourly wage. This is meant to make up for their lack of benefits and job security, and for the increased percentage of time they spend getting to and from work. (If I commute 2 hours a day for 8 hours of work, that comes out to a far lower percentage of time than spending 2 hours commuting for 1 hour of work).

But not in academia! Why not? Only because we tolerate it. But... the buck must stop!

It is time to tell the administrators (and the politicians who spend our tax dollars--yes, even underpaid and overworked adjuncts pay taxes!) that this is wrong! It is time to tell them that we will no longer tolerate it. It is time to say no. But to say no with a loud voice.

To extend Dylan Thomas' words: do not go gentle into that good night!

I will not.

1 comment:

Lilian said...

Do you know how much a consultant who has worked before for the big pharma where my husband is now working makes? Over ONE THOUSAND dollars an hour, isn't that unbelievable -- How much they value this guy's work?