The Politics of Adjuncting

It takes a good solid week (at least) to write a syllabus from scratch when you do not know a lot about a field. Adjuncts are hired last, so often one does not have a lot of lead time to write said syllabus. And you’d sure as hell better have access to a good library, because textbook companies encourage you to get in touch with your rep (like you have a rep or access to the rep) in order to receive desk copies. At the very least you need to have a mailbox (3 adjunct jobs and counting and I have yet to have a mailbox). I can’t even log onto my college email yet.

Fortunately I have other gigs. Fortunately this class will not make or break my finances, although it will certainly help. Fortunately I had put aside early January to work, in part, on the Fucker, and so had prepared for a work slowdown.

But I’m not getting my fucker written and I’m scrambling to ensure I do not start off on the wrong foot. Adjuncting is a job for those with a high degree of tolerance for uncertainty and the ability to improvise. Yesterday, driving home from seeing some friends I worked with long ago, I thought about how I work.

I like throwing myself into huge complicated projects and figuring out as I go. I thought about my Week of Insane Revision. If grad school taught me that I can write a workshop-worthy poem in a few hours, my Week of Insane Revision taught me that I don’t need a month to revise my whole damn manuscript.

So, it’s some more administrative emails, and then it’s off to the library to finish editing the last 50 (single spaced) paper pages of the fucker.

How’s your work?

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7 responses to “The Politics of Adjuncting

  1. I’m transcribing a couple of sections each day, sometimes more, and editing as I go, since I know what happens now, but when I was filling all those legal pads with scenes, I didn’t and tried out different things, sometimes even on purpose.

    But I’m finding good stuff even if the wrong stuff, so I’m feeling pretty good about it.

  2. I know what you mean, Indy. I’m working on a syllabus right now where I had to buy the books before I had even really mapped out what I wanted to do. For what it’s worth, I tend to leave “escape hatches” in the syllabus, especially for a new course, so that I can change things up in the class if that becomes necessary. Good luck finishing the syllabus! And in revising the Fucker.

  3. I’ve learned about myself that I need to understand the big picture (the overall purpose of the job or the whole general process) in order make sense of the individual parts along the way. I generally have to figure it out as I go, which ain’t optimal, but life ain’t fair either. When I was an adjunct, I had a mailbox (but no mail in it) and they gave us free copies of the text. I wonder if that’s still the case.

    • Yeah, I’m definitely the figure-it-out-as-you-go person. I agree that it isn’t optimal, but at some point I do figure most of it out. I can get free copies of the text, but the process of getting it is daunting, as it involves many steps. However, a lot of the articles are available online or through databases, so that is how I’m going.

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