Adventures of Adjunct Clause

I became a copyeditor because I didn’t want to teach. My MFA program had two tracks: the teaching track and the publishing track. I knew I had wanted to work in publishing ever since I was a wee Clause, so I gleefully took “Intro to Copyediting” and “Desktop Publishing,” etc., while all my friends were bemoaning undergrads and their disinclination to attend class or write a strong thesis statement.

Years passed. Minds changed. I got a job at a college because I am a faculty brat and it didn’t seem right not to work at an institute of higher learning. (I exaggerate but only barely.) And now I’m teaching an online class. The good thing about this class was that the class materials were all there, I just had to adapt them. I spent an entire day trying to wrap my head around writing a syllabus. It was like the questions on the analytical SATs.

You have twelve weeks, and five projects. Students must do project X before they do project Y. They must read A before they read B. In the middle of project Y, they need to turn in a revision of paper X. Oh, and don’t get the dates wrong; students get pissed if you look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t smile until Christmas.

Three days in I get what can only be described as an abusive email. Fun. It’s been a hard week, and I’m devastated. But the next day I have regained perspective. I know how this works. I’ve been working online for years, both as a copyeditor and as a project manager working with offsite editors. I know how to phrase emails, I know to overexplain,  I know to assume a business-like tone and not let my anger or frustration show.

And today is my payoff. My students had to turn in drafts of their papers. The papers are rough around the edges, but they are interesting and say real things. The students are working hard, and are glad to be in the class, and I get to read all about it. Now I feel all mushy and proud. Difficult Student has not turned in any work yet. But the grades will reflect that. I am mad with power! Mad!!

What are you doing that you never thought you’d do?


8 responses to “Adventures of Adjunct Clause

  1. I never thought I’d be writing weekly offbeat poetry posts that are being quoted in college papers . . . for free.

    Three days? What on earth could trip someone’s trigger in three days? Did you ask them to . . . write something? In a writing class?

  2. “What are you doing that you never thought you’d do?”
    I am baby sitting my seven week old granddaughter for the first time ALL DAY LONG.
    Now, she sleeps, and I am here sharing my thoughts.
    I always thought that someday, if I lived long enough, I’d have a day like today. Grandchildren are a second chance, some say, although my first attempts turned out pretty damn good.

    I never thought I’d be interviewed on TV in front of millions, but I was. Never thought I’d finish writing a book, I’ve written two, never thought I’d be a columnist but I am. Hell I never thought I’d be married and I have been for more than half my life. I wonder what ‘nevers’ will come next.

  3. I never thought I’d be a single track mountain biker.

    Hey Indy. Glad you are having fun. Me too. I’ve got 31 in my writing class. they are in for two full-day seminars right now. Of course, my writing class isn’t as cool as yours, because mine are all academic writers, instead of creative ones. However, I impressed upon them the fact that even a literature review is a creative endeavour. I think they liked that shift. I am trying to get them to story their reviews, rather than, well, whatever it is that they otherwise do. not story them? do you mind that I am using “story” as a verb? Verbalization. hmmm.

    But, I just wanted to warn you about the marking thing. The grades. Do you know how easy it is to mess up your students grades? Really easy! Make sure you’ve got a fabulous spread sheet and you write down their marks RIGHT away, and have copies everywhere.


    Faculty Brat #2

    • “Do you mind that I am using “story” as a verb?” Yes, yes I do! But you don’t really care. You probably used it deliberately to provoke me.

      And yes, I’m writing everything down twice.

      • In addition to the spread sheet, have marks that you ascribe to various factors so you can objectively demonstrate why you gave them the grade you did. Of course this is only likely to be necessary for Mrs KooKoo Pants but you need to able to show why you gave her that F grade!

        Enjoy that power trip Baby!

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