The Adjunct Office or Should I Say Bitch Central?

Most schools provide their part-time faculty with a space to grade papers and check their emails. It’s not the most beautiful space–both of the schools that work at have offices for their adjuncts and both are located in the basement, in a corner where air circulation is something to be desired. Nevertheless, it’s better than no space and relegating part-time staff to the library for computer access.

I look forward to one day having an office that smells of old books and is decorated with cheesy English teacher posters. And while I pine for  this office, I’m still grateful to have a space I can sort of call my own. My issue however is not with the space. My issue is with the people who use the space.

A bunch of complainers they are. Oh my goodness. I get it, we all need to vent, but lord have mercy. This past semester I have learned about how lazy, undisciplined, and horrible the students are at the college. Bunch of no good….blah blah blah. All semester I have heard other instructors–some of them about 40 years older than me–talk about how in their day students were disciplined. Kids were better then. Teaching was a pleasure. Oh, shut it.

While I don’t deny that students, teaching, and, parents has evolved–or maybe regressed over the past few years, the student bashing is too much for me. I will not disagree that there are some real pains in the ass out there, many of them in my classroom. But overall, I don’t have horrible students. Of course this varies by semester, but I’ve had groups that were worse, and I anticipate that I will have better.

It seems that many of these instructors have lost touch with their students and perhaps that is in part because of their age, but I do think that mostly it’s because instead of trying to reach their students they bitch about them. How many of you have had instructors who were old–but hip? They are out there, and frankly those older hip professors often kick serious ass.

There are days when I get caught up in the complaining–I admit. On those days, I get upset with myself for being negative and complaining. It happens, I’m human. When I do complain, I do notice, that it makes the grading more difficult, and the work experience not so pleasant. I love to teach writing–I love it wholeheartedly.  That’s what I think is part of the problem. These complaining teachers have forgotten why they teach.

The crotchety, complaining, cranky professors (alliteration was totally intentional) are the worst. While I sit in the office and hear the complaining, I want to desperately shout–Enough! I do what my students do when they don’t want to listen, I pop in my headphones and pump up the volume on my iPod. Maybe I’m just as bad as to my colleagues as my students, but frankly I don’t care. Instead of complaining, I try to reach them and encourage them to be the best students possible, because in the end that’s all I can do. And I’m okay with that.


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