One of the challenges of being an adjunct is scheduling, of course: which classes to teach, when, and where. I don’t know how professors who cobble together a full-time schedule from various adjunct assignments do it. It has to be beyond nerve-wracking to first get the assignments, then wait to see whether all of the classes fill up sufficiently. For those of you who know the teaching world, I don’t have to tell you about the dismal number for adjuncts, but for those of you outside it, this article is a pretty good summary–and there are hundreds of more articles out there.
I am fortunate to do my adjunct teaching on top of a day job, but I still want the class that I teach to fill and run. Over the summer break, especially, the class roster fills up at a snail’s pace. Students register late in the summer, and I teach a Friday night class, which isn’t every student’s first choice. (You would think it would be *no* student’s first choice, but many of my students lead such busy lives that a Friday night is one of the few times they are free.)
So as of today, I have five students enrolled out of a maximum of 22. I would have to look at my contract to see what the cutoff numbers are, but below a certain number the class won’t run, and below another number the class will run but you will be paid at a pro-rated salary. I have been very fortunate that I haven’t had either of these things happen very often. But I have heard through the grapevine that they expect enrollments to be down this fall at Bunker Hill, despite us being able to buck nationwide trends the past couple of years and have increasing enrollment..
So every few days I login to my faculty portal and see if the number has risen. I take a moment and look at the names of the students enrolled, and the small snapshot I have of their academic record. As an adjunct I don’t see their transcript but I do know if they’ve fulfilled the prerequisites and I can also look at how they fared on the placement exams in writing, reading, and mathematics. I take the placement exam results with a healthy grain of salt. They could have taken them a few years before. They may have prepped extensively or not at all. They may not test well. Sometimes their declared major is there, sometimes not. I would always like to see more information rather than less, but that isn’t always possible. For now I will peek at the numbers, hope they grow, and imagine that classroom of students I will greet in early September.