My Short Stint as an Adjunct Instructor

I love my job at Kaplan, but I'm not making very much money there, and I really do need to be making a lot more. So I decided to answer an ad I found online for an adjunct algebra instructor at a local vocational school. It was only a part-time job, so I thought it would be a good way to supplement my income. I sent off my resume and did not hold my breath.

I soon received a call from a recruiter in Kansas City, who asked me a bunch of questions and promptly set up an interview (here in North Hollywood). After having the campus change the day on me, I arrived at my interview on time. So I was very disappointed to have to wait nearly 30 minutes before my appointment met me. I met with the Academic Dean of the campus, and I have to admit that I did very well. I was intelligent, articulate, and competent. I was told that the position of algebra instructor had actually already been filled, but that the school was looking for someone to teach general math in the near future. I figured that I'd hear from them whenever and didn't expect much.

So I was very surprised when I received a call from the recruiter, telling me that he needed my references right away. In the days that followed, I received phone calls and emails asking for my official transcripts and, finally, offering me the position of adjunct instructor. An appointment was made for my orientation, and I was welcomed to the company.

I arrived on Monday and was eager to get to know my surroundings. Unfortunately, I soon found that my optimism was misplaced. The administrative assistant was rude and ill-informed. She didn't know the rules of filling out an I-9 and tried to act as if she did. She gave me a huge stack of papers to read and sign. She planted me in the teachers' lounge and made copies of my driver's license and social security card--and then managed to leave 15 copies of each in the copy machine for anyone to steal my identity. I was very angry about this, but I tried to hold my temper, since it was my first day.

Then came the orientation. I thought that this would include more pieces of paper and possibly some introductions to important personnel. Instead, I was handed a phone list (not a map) with several names highlighted and told that I needed to speak with these people and have them initial a checklist. I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to talk with all of these people about, and, as it turned out, most of them didn't really know either. Some people were very nice, but some told me they were just too busy to talk to me. Some were not in their offices at all. After getting about 3 signatures, I found myself so frustrated that I had to leave. I tried to express this frustration to the administrative assistant, but I was told that I could just come back to finish. In addition, I was told that "You get paid for it anyway," as if that made my annoyance OK.

It was sometime during my exasperation that I considered walking out of that place and not coming back again, but I decided that would be bad form. I probably should have followed my instincts.

I returned on Wednesday to finish my orientation. Well, at least, that's what I hoped for. When I arrived, everyone was really happy to see me--frighteningly happy. I soon learned the reason. Turns out that the algebra teacher they had hired wasn't working out, and they decided to fire him. They wanted me to start immediately and sent me downstairs to meet the class right away. I was glad to start earning immediately, and I wasn't at all nervous about the class. After all, it was just beginning algebra, so it shouldn't be that hard. I was asked to come in a couple of times a week to tutor, for pay, of course, and I agreed.

I taught my first class the next Wednesday, and the class went well. The students were, for the most part, attentive and seemed eager for some sort of stability. The nightmare began after the class ended. My class had 27 students and lasted for 4-1/2 hours. I was to give homework and a quiz at each class meeting. I found out after class that I was also expected to turn in what we essentially deficiency reports every week and a class summary after each class period. Oh, and by the way, they would only pay me for one hour per week over my class time for prep. Not only is this annoying and stupid, but it is also illegal to give me all of that work and then refuse to pay me for it. Again, I contemplated walking out, but I decided to stay for the duration of the class.

I was actually in New York for the next week of class, but I heard from the school while I was gone. They had scheduled me for several hours of extra tutoring per week, which I would get paid for. Was the money worth the hassle? I'd soon find out that the answer was no.

The next few weeks were sucked up by this place, even though I thought I was only going to work 5 hours a week. It was horrible, and I found myself becoming more and more resentful by the day. I was overly joyed on the last day of class, and even that turned into a stupid thing.

The last day of class was the final. However, because of their dumb system, I was required to keep the class in the room for the full 4-1/2 hours, no matter how long the test took. This was annoying in and of itself, but I dealt with it. I also decided that since I had no intention of returning to the school from hell, I would finish my grades before I left for good. Because I was nearly done with grades by the time class was over, I decided to tell people what their grades were. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Not really, but a few did fail. Those that did ran straight to the dean's office and blamed their low grades on the instability and not on their inability to learn algebra (or even on me, for that matter). So I got a scolding for that. The dean told me that "next time" I wasn't to tell them their grades. Sorry, lady, there won't be a next time. She said it was better to let them get their grades in the mail. Nut job.

Funny thing. As I was getting ready to go, the associate dean came rushing over to me to get me to sign my contract for the next class, which was to start in June or July. I almost laughed in his face. But instead I told him that he needed to speak with the dean. I had already told her, but I followed up with a very nice email a few days later. True to form, she did not respond, and I wasn't even sure what my status was until I received my final check a couple of weeks after that.

So that was my brief stint as an adjunct instructor. Guess it just wasn't meant to be.


Newer Post Older Post Home
I write about, education, diabetes, family, pets, church, God, and whatever else comes to mind.

    Some Things That Make Me Happy

    (1) learning
    (2) family
    (3) barney
    (4) food
    (5) school
    (6) music
    (7) adoption
    (8) Doctor Who
    (9) worship
    (10) baking
    (11) reading
    (12) Quantum Leap
    (13) chocolate Irish cream cheesecake
    (14) scrapbooking
    (15) cake decorating
    (16) Star Trek
    (17) Craig Ferguson
    (18) British TV
    (19) gooey butter cake
    (20) crunchy onions
    (21) traveling

Recent Comments