I love my job. I love the students at WCC and am passionate about what I teach. Exposing students to new ideas and information, seeing them connect what I teach with their own lives is an amazing opportunity and feeling. The saddest part of my position is the lack of consideration and understanding we experience from full-time faculty. I can appreciate that everyone is busy with their own little world, but we get the impression that we are disposable.
The biggest insult probably is the lack of appreciation and compensation for all the extra time many of us spend with our students and trying to be more involved with the campus community. Many of us would love to attend more meetings and departmental gatherings. However, we often teach at other institutions to make a reasonable salary or we have young children which requires us to hire a babysitter. You cannot pay the babysitter with cookies or refreshments offered at meetings.
I still remember the first time I realized how tough being an adjunct was. I struck up a conversation with a lovely art and dance adjunct at a union meeting. She shared that, after being at the college for many years, she was now ill and asked for help with insurance. The union officers got quiet until the adjunct representative said she was unfortunately entitled to nothing. It was a rude awakening for me to the plight of many of my colleagues. I left that meeting feeling selfish and naive. I realized how precarious an adjunct’s position is for people using it as a full-time job. Even when I worked at Kmart in college, I had health insurance. Sadly nothing has changed in the 20-30 years my friends have taught here.