Teaching – And Communication

So yesterday I went to the college that I’ll be teaching at in the Fall to pick up my book and syllabus. I’ve taught as an adjunct at 4 different Universities now. And generally as an adjunct at a community college you’re just given a syllabus that says when the exams will be (and the exams are generally prewritten) and your syllabus tells you when the labs will be and what chapters should be covered in the book. This is typically done because adjuncts have high turn over and you want to make sure that from class to class the students are given the same education. This wasn’t true for the Organic Chemistry class I taught at my alma mater. I was just given a book and subjects that needed to be covered and I winged it all from there. But because I had TAKEN the class at this college some 8 years prior, I knew generally what should be covered (it also helped that I still had my notes, quizzes and exams from the class that I took). Still, I was given a GUIDELINE as to what to teach, and was TOLD what the labs would be and when they would be so that I could couple my lectures a bit to what was covered in lab.

So I picked up my “syllabus” and my book for the class that I’m teaching starting next Thursday and was SHOCKED. The “syllabus” was simply a print out of the course catalog requirements of the class – you know – “At the end of the class the student will have mastered these principles”. And they gave me the handouts for the labs (which I will be teaching) but didn’t tell me WHEN the labs would be. To make it even more annoying – there are 10 labs in the packet they gave me and 15 weeks in the semester. So do I have lab the first week or not? Who knows! Ugh…

Also, I am unsure what chapters in the book to cover or not, where my classroom is, where the copy machine is and if I need a key to my room or anything like that. And the chair of the department has been less than helpful. This is becoming quite a frustrating experience. I’m not used to this kind of bullshit in an adjunct position. I’m much more used to just being given a packet and following it with a little orientation to the department and the campus by the chair. This is quite the opposite experience. So I’m going to have to take time off of work on Wednesday and head down to the campus and find out where everything is and make sure I haven’t forgotten to do anything. I know the first name of my lab assistant, so I’ll have to find her and figure out what is going on with my lab situation.

It is frustrating and adds more work to my life than I really want, but I suppose when it is done I’ll have a good idea of what to expect next semester. I guess they say that the first semester you teach at a new place is always the hardest – it just shouldn’t be for a lot of the reasons that they’ve created. However, the extra $150/week that I’ll be making should (hopefully) more than make up for it.


3 Responses to Teaching – And Communication

  1. Leigh says:

    that sucks! It also doesn’t make me feel very good about the tons of student loans I have to pay back. I had a similar experience when I taught a course for paralegals at a local community college.

  2. Wow. That’s ridiculous! So much for organization. Is yours the only section of the class? That could explain some of the lack of preprep going on here. But seriously. I have big doubts in the competency of the department chair. But I know that you’ll make it work. =)

    • SS4BC says:

      No, there is a section every night of the week from 6-10pm. So I’m going to crash in either tonight or tomorrow night and figure some shit out with the other profs. And if that doesn’t help I’ll contact Human Resources. I mean, I need a way to get my class lists and university email. This is just ridiculous. The chair really should be better on top of things and he just isn’t.

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