Teaching like an adjunct

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The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. I’m currently teaching six classes at three different schools: two double classes (Comp I & Fusion) at Northern Essex Community College; an argument course at Rivier University; and a Comp I course to high school students at North Shore Community College. Although I’m teaching the same thing at the community colleges, I revamped everything for this semester: I chose a whole new theme, found new articles for us to read, and I continue to revise every Powerpoint and lesson plan I’ve ever written.

I don’t suggest doing this EVER. I’ve also changed almost every major assignment. And teaching a Fusion class is a whole new world for me. It’s for students who haven’t tested directly into Comp I. This way they attend both classes together, and the Fusion portion is meant to help them out.

As a starving artist, teaching college classes is my best way to make a living, so when fall comes I take whatever I’m offered. Autumn is when those who’ve graduated from high school leap into comp classes during their first semester and these courses flood across the college. But the opposite happens during spring time: the students have finished Comp I and are ready to move on. Adjuncts hope and pray for a class or two. This is the real reason to work at multiple schools: to get closer to a guarantee of spring time work.

I’ve never been this tired. Teaching a group of 22 students for just an hour feels equivalent to four hours of solitary desk work, because every lesson is planned, every question ought to be answered, and by the end my head is sort of aching. But it’s worth it to watch my students grow and start to think more and ask more questions. I love curiosity, and I love teaching.

IMG_2438I’ll get back to writing as soon as I can, and I’ll try to keep blogging too, but for now I’m giving myself a little bit of a break this semester. If you feel like you’re killing yourself trying to get to your creative life, and it’s become a sort of chore for you, something you feel like you have to do, then maybe you could take a break too. It will help you remember why you love it so much, so when you return to your art you could enjoy it once more.

I’d love it if people want to offer questions or comments about living creatively either full-time or part-time, about any creative endeavor. If you’ve always been curious about something in the writing life, pitch your questions below and I’ll try to answer them in future blog posts.


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