Thursday, April 24, 2014

Category One

We received an email in our school emailbox announcing a "Post-Graduation Celbration" with the following flyer:
(Our college is nowhere near a beach and who is Matthew Roberts, anyway?)

There's been a lot of interesting developments around campus lately, beginning with the jubilant (!) announcement (!) of our 5-buck raise.  Per hour.  But it is retroactive for a year.  If they tripled that we would still be in the lower 25% range of adjunct raise.  I may be making that number up, but it feels about right.  I know we're not in the top 50% nor at the bottom of the heap, either. This news is about a Category One level on a scale of 1-5 (one being the lowest), but I'm happy to have any kind of  pay raise, especially since we've had our wages frozen for several years.

We're also getting the parking lot by the lower level of the library that should have been put in when they built the library, creating parking headaches. But next semester's parking woes will be Category Five on a scale of 1-5 as they are closing one of the main parking lots to build our new College Center, which is billed as a "center for the college" but when you look at the space usage, it's really just new offices for the Administration, while the faculty offices are still in pre-1970s buildings, dark and dank and woefully small.  But then, they aren't really hiring new faculty these days -- just administrators, with a few adjuncts -- so I guess new faculty digs aren't needed.

One student appears to have stopped coming to class, now that we have 4 weeks left, another student was caught plagiarizing and I sent her name up the admin ladder, and still another student seems to have no regard for the start time of class for when he does come in it's like he's the only person in the room, standing, talking, flailing through his backpack as he settles himself. 

Their major paper of the semester is due in two weeks and I've put the screws on them to get cranking.  One student is calmer than a summer lake in the morning, while others are Category Ten on the panic scale of 1-5.  You can see it in their eyes, their inability to find anything in their backpack or folder, the stepped up visits to Office Hours which I hold at a table in the library, since the Adjunct Office Conditions are about a Category 12 on a scale of 1-5 (with 1 being most suitable), as compared to the Faculty Offices.

We are all tired.  The students are tired, teachers are tired and the staff barely move from their rolling chairs when you ask them a question, their fingers poised over the keyboard while they barely move their eyes from the screen to your face in order to see if you are a Category One person or a Category Ten person on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the least important. If it's awarded on power, the only power I hold is a fully-paid up parking pass for a Faculty/Staff slot and an ability to award grades to the deserving and undeserving alike.  If it's on looks, I am always fully dressed.  If it's on brains, mine generally show up at the time I need them to. But with having to sign a paper every semester acknowledging my non-renewable contract and lowly status, it's really not a hard question: I'm a Category One, most definitely. 

Which is why I'm taking an unpaid sabbatical leave next semester.