Many times, after teaching for four hours straight, I walk across campus to my car exhausted, but exhilarated. I am high on the satisfaction of having connected with so many students, and the feeling that I’ve helped them in some way that day. As I drive to the grocery store to buy provisions for the four adults living in my home, that wonderful feeling of accomplishment gives way to reality. How am I going to swing this again? The mortgage is due, the groceries are expensive, and I’ve got 80 essays to grade this weekend.
My experience teaching at WCC has been inspiring, enlightening, and enjoyable. I teach here because I want to give back to my community, and the diversity of students, faculty and staff allows me to connect with a wide array of people. On the professional level, I have many opportunities to collaborate with fellow professors, administrators, and staff through the WCCFT, Faculty Senate, Center for Teaching and Learning, Academic Support Center, and several English Department committees. I thrive on seeing the big picture, so I appreciate being involved in the college in addition to teaching. I especially enjoy the professional development programs where I can share ideas and collaborate with colleagues, but I wish there were more PD opportunities on a regular basis for full-time and adjunct faculty. We have an amazing wealth of knowledge and experiences among our professors (as well as staff) and need more forums to share this informally.
As a writing teacher, I constantly redesign my lessons and assignments to keep them current and integrative. I spend scores of weekend hours providing thoughtful comments to my students on their writing to help them learn and grow. As an adjunct, this time is completely unaccounted for in my hourly rate and compensation for classes. I have had several additional part-time jobs to help financially, but that all but eliminates time for my own scholarship and creative pursuits. I have applied for full-time faculty and staff positions at WCC, hoping that my demonstrated success in the classroom and active dedication to the college will give me an edge, but so far it has not.
Many times, I leave campus feeling completely frustrated. All I want to do is contribute to what I consider one of the most important public institutions in Westchester. I give my all to my students, but I have a constant strain of financial worries and lack of job security. I don’t see a path for advancement. Yet, I am among those who are devoted to education. I do it for the students. Their successes are the feathers in my cap.