Question (from “Anne Marie”): With my new M.F.A. in creative writing, I haven’t been able to land a full-time teaching job. (No surprise there, I know.) But I’m young, single, and interested in other areas of the arts, so I’m moving to “Arts City” to try to break into the business. I don’t want to abandon the possibility of a teaching career, and I’ve been offered a job teaching a composition class at a community college, for $1,300. My adviser tells me I’m crazy to consider teaching for such a low fee, but how else do I keep my hand in academe?
Answer: It does seem so right: writing, making music, or creating art during the day; teaching a course during the evening (or vice versa). Eventually, maybe you’ll have a best seller or a hit movie, and all will be well.
But you can’t live on $1,300 a semester—although the shadowy world of would-be academia is filled with people cobbling together five or six such teaching gigs at once.
That’s possible because some 70 percent of college courses offered are now taught by adjuncts—part-timers who are paid a pittance and have no job security (“Not enough enrollment this semester, so no classes for you”). Few have on-campus parking. Hardly any have health insurance. They may get to use the corner of a desk, shared with half a dozen other people.
Respect? Ha. <Read more.>