The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 22nd, 2015
This past year, as an instructor in the
English department at a state university, I learned how to auction items
online, mail packages without visiting the post office, practice the
Buddhist principle of nonattachment, and evaluate gold prices.
I’ve been teaching undergraduates for nearly five years, and I’ve
always been motivated by the give-and-take of the classroom. But when a
person reports to work only two days a week and can’t pay her rent,
she’s forced to develop other skills.
Last June, I accepted what for years had been my dream job: a
full-time instructorship. As an adjunct instructor for four years, I’d
nearly given up on job security and was prepared to leave academe. But
then I got an email from the chair of the English department offering me
a full-time, one-year appointment. The word "benefits" reduced me to