Saturday, November 29, 2008

Breaching the contract

This time my gripe isn't with the students, it is with the universities. More than once this month universities that I have signed contracts with, and completed work for, did not pay me on time. I find it unprofessional that an employer for whom I have completed all of my work on time and up to par is 5-7 days late paying me for my services.

One of the universities has yet to pay me for three weeks of work. I was supposed to be paid before Thanksgiving. I received an email on the payday stating that there was a "computer error" and that pay checks should be deposited the day after Thanksgiving. This would not be the end of the world IF it actually occurred. However it did not.

On a side note the "computer error" scenario presents several problems for me. 1. If you were supposed to mail checks out to people who should receive them on the pay date that means that you should have been aware at least three days prior to the pay date that there was a problem. 2. that this happened at all means that someone was not doing their job and did not catch the error.

As a result if payment has not been received for services rendered what options do I have? To not work in the classroom until I receive payment? To file a complaint with the labor board?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not all snowflakes are deformed

I am reaching the end of my current class and I am vastly relieved that this batch of snowflakes are not half-melted when they got to me. The last class I taught was terrible. I seriously questioned whether or not I was teaching a special ed class and not a college course - I would bet at least half of them were borderline retarded. (So not PC I know).

This time I am pleasantly surprised that outside of the regular snowflakiness (i.e. begging to turn in late assignments, trying to haggle for that .1o of a grade, etc.) they are a reasonably intelligent group who is working hard. Which is good because the last class made me question my university and their admittance policy.

I am also starting to work at a new university for a trial class. My trial not theirs as I do not know if I like how they run their classes and the communication between the admin and the teachers is poor and so is the pay. However there is a possibility to get more classes at the same time here so I am hoping this is a good lead!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Does not pandering equal less classes?

This is something I have been considering. The last course I taught consisted of at least 20 students who were not prepaired for college level work. They did not know the basics of academic writing, often did not answer the questions in assignments (if they turned them in at all), and complained when I gave them the opportunity to redo assignments so they would not fail. Out of 22 students, only 2 got an "A", 5 failed, and the rest got C's. There are some who are of the school of thought that if students are failing it is the teachers fault, and there are others of the school of thought that students "earn" their grades.

I believe that I am a tough teacher. I have expectations of students which I clearly spell out in my Faculty expectations, and if a student does not meet these expecations then they will not pass the course. I do not think that my expecations are that high, they must cite their sources, both in disucssion assignments and written assignments, I do not accept late assignments, and I use a grading ruberic to grade papers which I provide to the students. Yet I find time and again that many times student cannot or will not meet these expecations.

I have found that my class offerings from the university I started at have been less and less. I find it hard to believe that there is no correlation between the low grades some students are getting in my class and this occurance. On one hand I wonder if I need to let up on some of my students. However I am hesitant to do so because I do not think it will do them justice in the long run. I also think that if the university lets so many students in who are not ready for college level work without remidial courses to bring them up to speed then it is "unfair" to penalize me with less work. (I have using the "F" word and sounding like one of my little snowflakes!) If my employeer has the word Univeristy in their name and not Community College then they need to hold standards accordingly.

What have others experiences been with this occurance?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thinking about certification

I am thinking about getting some kind of "certification". I have a degree in psychology, however due to unfortunate circumstancing involving my practicum supervisor and lung cancer I was not able to complete it and therefore am not eligible for state liscensure.

So I have been looking at becoming a Nationally Certified Psychologist. I have been reading about it at the North American Association of Masters in Psychology. The trouble I am running into is how do I determine if this is a legitimate certification or a pound of bologna?

Any suggestions or experience from anyone?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Would you like some cheese with your whine?

It is the last week of class and all of the students who haven't been working on their final paper as they should have are beginning to complain that they do not have enough time. My 'favorite' snowflake is a student who did turn in their rough draft, which I graded and made comments and suggestions on. This student wasn't on the right track so I pointed them in the right direction. This students response? To complain in the student chat section of the course room that they "hated" my class, I "tore their paper apart", and they didn't have time to rewrite the whole paper. They went on to state that they didn't think my class should be "this hard".

I find I have a hard time bringing up any pity for these types of whiners. How do others deal with these students who are under the delusion that your online class should be "easier" and that you are being "unfair" because you expect them to turn in college level work without bitch slapping them into the middle of next week?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The pressure is building.

I need to stop checking me email after 9 p.m. because when I do I get snotty emails from ungrateful students which make my blood pressure rise. Case in point, I gave a student in my class a break on turning in her rough draft. She has been a good student, making progress in the class, and completing all of her assignments in a timely manner with good grades. She was in the middle of moving so I gave her the one day extension she asked for.

I grade her draft, give her feedback, and give it back to her with the 10% deduction for turning it in late. This is where the little shit catches herself up for not reading the faculty expectations like she says she did because she sends me an angry email stating I should have told her she would receive a 10% deduction for turning it late and I need to work with her.

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot that my entire teaching career revolves around reminding students about simple facts that they told me they read and understood - NOT! What the hell are you thinking little snowflake? Do you honestly think I am going to cut you any more breaks after you a. lied about reading the faculty expectations (which is a minor thing to lie about) which tells me I cannot believe anything else you say, and b. had the brass balls to email me demanding that I be more forgiving than I already have been?

I would love to come into your reality honey, I think it must be full of candy mountains and fairies waiting to do your bidding - I suggest you come into my reality where you pull your head out of your ass and realize that the rules do indeed apply to you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dear Previous Prof.

I know you had my students in your class. I know you passed them when they did not deserve it, much like a second grade teacher will pass little Billy even though he can't read because they don't want him setting fires in the garbage can in the classroom anymore.

How do I know? I am so glad you asked! I know only five students in my class can read simple directions and only three of them can form a coherent sentence. Since this is not the obligatory "first" course every student has to take at this fine online institution I know that this should not be happening. You failed your job as the gatekeeper. You are supposed to keep these retards out. (Gasp, did online adjuncter say what I think they just said?). I have said it before and I will say it again. Not everyone belongs in college. My current class is a prime example of this.

Being what I like to consider a reasonably intelligent adult I can tell the difference between lazy, ignorant, and just plain stupid. The ignorant I can deal with, they just don't know any better - yet. It is the lazy and the stupid I have little time for, as they either cannot or will not learn what I have to teach them. At first I thought that with a little guidance and patience my student's would improve. However with just three passing papers for the first written assignment (on a curve) I am coming to the realization that this just will not happen. When my little darlings randomly put words together in the middle of their paper and expect me to decipher the meaning it becomes glaringly clear that you, my dear previous professor, have put me in this position.

I am sorry little snowflake I do not know what "In the voluntary sympathetic act to prepare the body in stressful emergency. The involuntary parasympathetic division provides a means for the body to maintain storage of energy sources" is supposed to mean.

You coddled them, didn't correct their writing ability, and clearly did not enforce plagiarism rules. They believe they are prime examples of stellar academic abilities. Now it is my job to crush their dreams. Thank you, I hope you enjoyed your good performance reviews at the expense of these student's education; because I know my reviews will be going right in the crapper since I am forced to teach them what you did not - accountability!

I am going to find where you live and beat you with their rolled up papers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Damn Dirty Grade Grubbers

I have posted the first week's grades and the grade grubbing has begun. Nothing sets my teeth on edge like an email that says "How come I didn't get full credit for (insert) assignment? I need an explaination. Thanks."

First off you little shit, I don't owe you an explaination. You owe me a complete assignment. Don't come whining to me after the fact if you cannot read simple instructions. It is worse when the student did well, but did not get "perfect" scores. They seem to have a stroke when I tell them that they will not always earn perfect scores for their assignments. That would mean they got every concept perfectly! (In which case maybe they should be teaching the course so the students can email them and whine). Sweet mother of god, I dislike whiney students. I would much rather have a struggling student who genuinely needs help understanding a concept but is will to put forth the effort for an 85% than someone who puts forth a s0-so effort and then can't understand why they are not getting a 100%.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From Famine to Feast

It has seemed in the last couple years things have come in boughts, teaching jobs, happy events etc. I am glad to say that right now things have gone from Famine to feast in my life. For two years now I have been applying to university after university trying to get more adjuncting jobs. The hours of mindless applying has finally paid off and I have one new contract for fall and two in the works for spring quarter. Needless to say I am very excited.

I have also finally crawled my way out of public education and recently accepted a job in the private sector. It pays a lot more, I can work from home and travel for the job, and I make my own hours. I finally found my dream job! For a long time I thought I was stuck in the bowels of public education, but it is this job that gave me a contact with the person who is to be my new boss. I guess it is true when they say everything happens for a reason and you end up where you need to be!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Changes in the works

I started teaching as an online adjunct because my job in the public education system did not pay the bills. I was over worked, over qualified, and under paid. After years of searching for a new job I finally have an offer. It is a GREAT offer, it pays almost 50% more than what I am making now, I can work from home so I can keep teaching (which is great), and best of all I will finally be using my degree in a manner in which I would like to.

Yet I find myself exteremely anxious about this move. I will be without insurance for 6 months. What if I get lonely working from home without co-workers to chat with on a daily basis? Change scares me and frankly makes my stomach a little queezy because I have no control over it. I know it is what I want to do, I know it is what I NEED to do. Now if I can just find the gumption to make myself DO it! :)

Self Actualize This!

Today there is an article that made be grit my teeth on RYS. To sum it up for those of you who do not want to read the article one teacher had a slacker in class who didn't show up for class, do his work, or pass his tests. So obviously the kid got an "F" stamped on him with the big rubber stamp he deserves.

Obviously the kid needs a rubber room though because he had his "therapist" or someone who was posing as his therapist contact the teacher and tell them that because the F was hurting his self esteem because the teacher didn't understand his creativity he needed to raise it to at least a "C".

My guess, the letter the teacher recieved is a fraud. No psychologist or psychiatrist I know would ever help a client avoid consiquences for poor judgement and behavior. That is counter intuitive to treatment. Had I recieved this letter I would have done a liscence check to see if this person even exhisted. If not then I would call the student on it and report the incident to academic honesty hoping that the little snowflake would land in a larger stinky pile of shit. If this was an actual person treating the student I would have to "tsk tsk" them with questions such as "How is avoiding responsbility and consiquences helpful for your client?" and "What gives you the impression that you or the student can dictate the grades earned in my classroom?"

The whole thing just blows my mind.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Do I need to buy the book?

This is one question I hate from my students, and at least one or two ask it every term. On one hand I realize that may professors will have students order several books and sometimes will not use all of them. I realize that students always have limited funds and this is irritating.

However, if I am only requiring you to buy one text for the whole class I think common sense should tell you that, yes, you DO need to buy the text book as this is where all of your material will be coming from.

I find that the students who ask this are also the same students who come to me and cry that they didn't know that the class had started and they missed their first assignment. Unfortunately I shoot their cries dead in the water as I send an email out three days before class starts telling them class is starting and they have an assignment due on the first day. Momma didn't raise no fool!

Monday, August 4, 2008

And it begins . . .

So I finally have my first class of the summer. . .too bad it is almost Fall so it barely even counts. My bank account has shrunk so much it can be considered a natural disaster area.

Anyhoo, class starts tomorrow and the hounds have already been released upon me. Questions, questions, questions, how do I find the discussion questions, I don't understand how to write the paper, can you think for me so I don't have to? So far it has only been three or four students and if this is as bad as it gets, even at three to four emails a day per student, I guess I can count myself lucky. After all it could be a lot worse.

Let's see what hits the proverbial fan tomorrow. . .

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lack of consistant classes leads to more Power Point Presentations

So my next class starts up soon, it will have been 14 weeks between assignments this last time. I have been getting good reviews, was awarded for teaching excellence, and have been going to university "training". Apparently none of this comes into play when the person scheduling the Adjuncts is assigning courses. I think this time they actually forgot about me because when I emailed them asking what was going on, it had been 10 weeks since I had heard from them, I suddenly got an assignment. *sigh*

I thought I had been making some progress in landing some additional universities. I have had several phone conversations with deans from various universities and community colleges, some even requested transcripts and that I fill out mountains of paper work. So far no training sessions and no classes. That is great since I enjoy spending my time doing meaningless paperwork!

On the plus side I have revamped my class "lectures" for the upcoming class, I have even included some power point presentations and graphics to keep the kiddies engaged. If it goes well I will do some more of these for the other classes I teach.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I read the article posted by the author of Teach Online regarding the narcissism of the up coming generations and I feel compelled to comment. There are so many factors that can play into this topic that I almost do not know where to begin! Let us start with the fact that the study discussed in this article found that in 2006 30% more students rated high on the narcissism scale. Some of the factors discussed was the "self esteem" push of the 1980's, the emergence of YouTube and Myspace, etc. Since part of narcissism is not being able to communicate and relate to others, a rise in online communication where you only need to pay attention to your views or those like yours, it is not surprising that the study has findings such as these. After all, if all of your communication can be about you and your likes, and you can block out anything confrontational to what you believe why would you not begin to believe you are better than you truly are?

Some things that it has not discussed was how schools are now pushed for children to be the same (NCLB). No one is better or worse, everyone is average. Everything is rated by a test score, your self worth is determined by your college application. The article is even skeptical of high school volunteers as they are often volunteering because it looks good on their transcripts, so the volunteering is for them, not those is need. They are then praised for this which re enforces the narcissism.

The subjects of this study were college students, and I have seen my fair share of "look at me's" in my classes. What I find more disturbing is the dramatic increase of the lack of empathy and ability to think of someone other than yourself I am seeking in the k-12 population. Very often the younger generation feels they should get things just because and cannot fathom why they should have to work for it when I tell them no in class. Granted they have a lower level of emotional and cognitive development, however I do not think this bodes well for the next 20-30 years of our society.

To me this study supports my stance that MySpace and Facebook (and other social networks) should not be used in an educational environment. If the goal of higher education is to teach students not only the theory of their chosen subjects but how to be productive citizens we need to stop the breakdown that got them where they are today. They need to be exposed to ideas they are uncomfortable with, they need to be challenged, and they need to think of how situations affect someone other than themselves!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mac vs. Vista

I am looking into purchasing a laptop in the next year. Since there have been so many problems with Vista I am looking into a Macbook (just a basic one). What have people's experiences been with Mac and the new Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In Response

RYS has a post up today regarding an opinion on how not every student should be in college. While this is the PC sentiment this is one that I totally agree with. In the past when I have voiced this opinion I have been Poo-Pooed "Oh, but everyone deserves an education." My response is "Really? Does everyone DESERVE an education."

I like chocolate cake. This is like me saying I deserve chocolate cake. Since I want some I should get it regardless of whether I am willing to put the time in, gather the ingredients, mix it together correctly and bake it. If I am not willing to do that then someone else should just give me some.

Frankly that is bullshit. If a student is not up to par in my class, cannot read or write, they do not deserve an "A" because they did not earn it. Do I find it sad? Yes, I do, however that does not mean I am going to push them along, it is not fair to them. After all, as an employer do you want a student who cannot form a coherent thought, I know I don't.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Continue My Education

I have been pondering the question of continuing my education so that I am eligible to teach more classes. I will only need 18 graduate credits to do so. I need to consider which courses to take. I am considering Criminal Justice as I see many places looking for instructors in these courses. I have not done the research yet to see how much this would cost me and weigh it against how much I could make to see if it is worth it. What does everyone else think? Good idea or bad idea?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Weird Email from University

I received what I think is an odd email from the university I work for. It was asking if I work for other universities, how long I have been teaching in higher education, and what (if any) publications I have. This was out of the blue after I have been teaching for them for over a year.

I thought this odd for several reasons. First since I am a contract worker I do not think that it is any of their business if I work for other universities. If they don't want me to teach anywhere else they can give me a long term contract where I am guaranteed classes or make me full time. Second, since they as a university do not pay me to do research, or pay for me to go to conferences why would they expect me to publish? As I understand it very few adjuncts publish for this very reason. (Not to mention the fact that being published, which I am, has not had any positive effect on my getting classes on a more regular basis from this university.)

I find that universities wanting it both ways, having the credentials of a full time professor, but don't expect the benefits of a full time professor, irritating.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I don't want to be "Human"

I am an avid reader of and for the last week or so they have had posts regarding being "human" in your grading and accepting late assignments. My only response to this idea is "screw that". If my students cannot act like the honest civilized adults they want to be treated as then why should I cut them any slack? It doesn't help them in the long run, it only enables their bad behavior.

Some of the things they have discussed lately were being understanding of adults who have jobs, families, etc. and give them extra time if they need it. My view point? You shouldn't bite off more than you can chew. It isn't fair to give Jill extra time because of other commitments she has chosen to take on if I don't give the same extra time to Jane who turns her work in on time.

But onlineadjuncter, some students will do really well if you give them extra time. Really? Will they? What happens down the road when they don't file their taxes on time? What happens when they can't meet deadlines at work? I am not helping them by giving them extra time, instead I would be a irresponsibility dealer giving them another fix of help me because I can't help myself.

What will I do? I will give them suggestions on time management. This will help them long term if they want to have so many balls in the air they can't see the sun shining down on their special little heads.

I know others will tell me I am being inflexible. Let me tell you why this is. I had a student who came to me asking me for extra time on assignments and extensions on her test dates because her mother was dying of cancer and she was taking care of her. Seems like a valid excuse right? WRONG. One phone call to her previous professors informed me that she had told them the same story. I also learned that she had used the cancer story for two consecutive previous semesters and told each professor that her mother had died. Needless to say she was shocked when her professors showed up to her meeting asking how the funerals in August and December went.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Extra Credit Nazi

I feel like pointing at all my students and yelling "NO EXTRA CREDIT FOR YOU!" For the love of god students if you read the assignments, put forth minimal effort, and turn in your assignments on time you should be able to pull a strong "C" in my class. Yet without fail every term at least one student who has been slacking off thinks they can come to me and I will give them extra credit.

I have a theory on this, I think that public school teachers, under the strain of NCLB now frequently give out extra credit in order to keep the grades up. Following this logic these snowflakes, who are already so egocentric that they are only capable of seeing things from their point of view, come to college where it is a whole different ball game. Unfortunately they don't know the rules, and when the rules are explained to them they don't seem to think they can apply to them.

How do I deal with this? I tell them a) I do not offer extra credit, they need to show they are capable of doing with work for the grade with the assignments I clearly outlined in the syllabus and b) the reason I do not offer extra credit to them is because I would have to offer it to everyone in the class. If they do not understand why I do not do that I refer them to reason "A". :) Some of the students say I am being bitchy, I say I am showing them tough love.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Begging for Grades

I don't think I would be surprised to see some students parked outside my house holding "Will Work for Grades" sign. It never suprises me how much effort students will put into raising their grade instead of putting effort in when they should, on the assignment.

Case in point - student emails me because they did not turn their final paper in. I tell them that they did not turn the paper in and thus they receive no grade for the assignment (duh). Two weeks later I receive a longer email again asking again to accept the assignment. Would it not have been easier to take the time to write the actual paper than pandering for points?

This reminds me of the special education students I work with whose bad behavior results in them not having privileges (games with friends etc.) Instead of not fighting with peers, arguing with teachers, being a brat, etc. so that they have the privilege to play with their friends, they act like little heathens and then spend time arguing with me about why their bad behavior is okay.

The similarities make me shudder.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Making Progress

So I may have as many as three new prospects as far as being an adjunct at different universities (thanks IPG, your list helped a lot!) After seeing my application they asked for my CV and my transcripts. I am hopeful to hear back from them after they receive them.

One university is an online university that is licenced and is in the process of trying to become accredited. If anyone has any thoughts on the pros and cons of working for a non accredited university I would love to hear it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I work in special education as well as working as an online adjunct. Lately I have observed many parallels between my two populations of students.

1. Spec. Ed. – Students are emotionally impaired and unable to accept responsibility for their behavior. It is what is being done to them not a result of what they are doing. E.g. it is okay for me to throw a brick through his window because he was a jerk to me and deserved it. The judge is being a jerk for putting me on probation.

College Students - Come up with excuses for why they don't do their work. It is not their fault that they are so busy and I should cut them a break. E.g. Even though I had the syllabus which outlines all assignments and due dates I had an emergency vacation and didn't have internet access. You should still accept my late work even though it directly contradicts the late assignment policy.

2. Spec. Ed. - Students have documented learning disabilities and need altered assignments, extra assistance, and extended hands on teaching to learn and apply most concepts. E.g. We will cover the concept of fractions in math, ecosystems in science, or how to accept no in an appropriate manner for 1-4 weeks so that students have a firm understanding of the topic.

College Students – I will provide handouts, worksheets, lectures, and guidance on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, yet every semester some student will plagiarize an entire paper and then claim “they didn’t know what plagiarism is.”

3. Spec. Ed. – Student have emotional impairments and often have trouble controlling their emotions, especially anger. Students will swear at their teachers and at times become physically aggressive.

College Students – Online students often forget the appropriate “netiquette” and will send emails telling me that my policies are dumb, argue with me after I have explained why their grade will not be raised, and yelled at me telling me why I am a bad teacher because I did not give them what they want.

Obviously when I work with special education students my approach is very different, and when teaching online I cannot stand in front of a student who is being inappropriate, look them in the eye, and tell them “Your behavior is inappropriate. When you can (enter desired behavior) I will talk to you again. Until then you need to sit quietly in your desk and not disrupt the rest of the class.” Although I think I would enjoy the opportunity to do so!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Student Reviews

I just got my student reviews for my last class that I taught. My reviews have improved, I am not sure if it is because I have lightened up on them or because my teaching has improved. I would like to think that it is the latter.

One response that irked me was a student who wrote about how the class was not helpful and beneath them, and regarding my teaching they expected me to be more "experienced" and were nervous taking classes from someone "just out of college". More experienced than what? I have had my undergraduate degree for five years, my graduate for over one year, and have been working in my field for five years. At what point am I considered "experienced"?

I know I have to take this with a grain of salt as many online students are returning to college and are sometimes 10 -20 years older than me, however I think regardless there needs to be a level of respect given to your teachers regardless of age/race/gender. I don't want to sound whiny, like I am stomping my feet, :) as I understand it is hard for some people to learn from someone so much younger than them. However I have the degree in what they are studying, they will get more out of the experience if they don't discount me. Is there anything I can do to overcome this?

Friday, May 9, 2008

To Administrate or Not to Administrate, that is the question.

As I discussed before I interviewed for an administrative position at a local university. The people were personable, and it has the potential to be a great job; however afterwords I was left with a nagging feeling that they were bat shit crazy.

The position I interviewed for was a Director position, yet they asked if I was willing to live in the dorms so that if students had questions they would have someone to talk to. Call me crazy but isn't this what RA's are for if a student has a question after hours? Obviously I told them "No, I am a home owner." They asked if I would be willing to stay overnight in the case of emergencies. I have a nagging suspicion this question came up due to the fact that someone got into the dorms and stabbed two students a few weeks ago. If I get a second interview the question of what constitutes and emergency will be asked.

Here is my quandary. As a teacher I expect that I will have to do some work "after hours", as an adjunct I realize that sometimes I will need to suck it up and grade papers past the hours I am getting paid for. However it seems that the "working for nothing" phenomenon is invading all aspects of our society. Be on call 24 hours in case a student has a question about dorm life, when they can wait until normal business hours? Sure, not a problem! Live on campus so I have no semblance of a personal life? You betcha! Work 16 hour days when I am only getting paid for 8? Why would I say no to that? When did employers expectations become so unreasonable, and why are some people willing to bend over and take it? I personally have some serious reservations about this position and have some heavy duty questions if I receive a second interview. Does anyone have any comments, observations, or suggestions?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Teacher Gets Schooled

I am sure like me many of you have schools question the grades you give, point out mistakes, etc. Like my students I am a fallible person with weaknesses. I admit mine is grammar. I don't always have a firm grasp on the small technicalities involved in writing, however I like to think that my writing makes sense and I am getting my point across. (Regarding my Blog it is fortunate for me that this is not something I am graded on as it is written in a couple of minutes so readers will have to forgive my grammar errors!) So when a student comes to me wanting to discuss their grade I am usually willing to talk to them and hear their side of the story.

When grading papers and essays if my students are following basis rules of grammar and punctuation I am not terriabley picky. I find this acceptable as I do not teach English, and will leave this to those that do as they have a better grasp on the topic that I do.

One phenominon that I have experienced recently is a student whose paper was "okay". Their writing was reasonably proficient, I could read it (unlike some students, see Rocket Scientist Post), and while they hit on most of the required topics they did miss some important points in their arguement. The result of this student's work was a "C". As to be expected this student came to me stating they didn't think that the grade was fair based on the ruberic and the comments I left on the paper. This was one of my first classes, and I told the student that if they could provide me with written support of why they met the ruberic guidelines and were able to show where they provided the support I commented was missing in the paper I would look at their grade again.

I niavely thought this was the last that I would hear from this student. Needless to say I was suprised when I was handed a two page essay from them outlining what I had requested from the student. It had not occured to me that my student would spend so much time coming up with a two page arguement in support of their eight page paper! As I read their argument I was both pleasantly suprised at the level of thought put into their arguement, thought that had been missing from the orignial paper, and the improvement in the support for their stance. While I was schooled in how a student would rather put in effort after the fact than in the original assignment, I believe that it was an important learning experience for the student. Was I right or wrong to allow the student to argue their grade? Is this a good learning tool that I should impliment again when a student comes to argue their grade or is it better left in the gutter of academic mistakes?

We can't all be rocket scientists

Every once in awhile you come across "the" student. This student makes you both grit your teeth and sad at the same. This student is a testament that not everyone can be successful in online education, or even traditional higher education. Here is a snippet of one such student.


Assignment: How have you applied what you have learned? (1-2 paragraphs) - I'am thinking about to deal with my stress but it is really hard to do that when I'am trying to do something i get really streed out when i can do not do something right but I will sit down and think about how I will done it before I try to do again then i go back to it later and I will ask someone to show me how to it.

Assignment: How does your first experience with online education align with your expectations? (1-2 paragraphs) - My feelings would be better doing it online would be a little bit easier.But it is like there is know one is around me at all it is not like if u was in class with people.Because when u are in class with someone if u need help u can turn to someone and ask if they can help u out but when u do ur work online u can ask someone for help but u have to email and ask them and then u have to wait for them to get back with u about it and if they can not help u have to find someone else that maybe can help u out and then u have to wa it for them to get back to u. But if u was in a classroom u do not have to go thought that at all.

While having this student I could see that I had made a small amount of progress regarding their writing, however I was not teaching a writing course so this was a small victory as they were barely grasping the concept of the class. The last assignment was telling in the sense that they expected online education to be easier, and as I tell all of my students, there is an implicit difference between more flexible and easier. A online class should not be easier than a traditional class or it will not carry the same academic merit with employers when you get your degree! In this student's case the 10/80 rule (10% of the students take up 80% of your time) held true. My efforts to coach them on grammar, proper "Internet edicate", etc. were all rebuffed and/or ignored. I will share the outcome of this in a later posting.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Best to Date:

The best excuse for missing an assignment or class to date is submitted by my friend who teaches as an adjunct at an east coast university.

"I missed class because I drank a bottle of dish soap and it made my stomach hurt."

The idea that this is the generation that will take care of me in my old age makes me quiver with fear.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Search Continues

Now that summer is coming quickly upon us and the prospect of having no income for two months is nipping at my heels I have redoubled the efforts I have been making all year to find more universities to work for. As many of you know job hunting is another full time job as you sort through who has openings, who wants transcripts, who wants applications filled out, and who just wants CV's. Those who accept electronic submissions of my CV and an electronic copy of my transcripts are my favorite submission. I typically don't apply to places that want official copies of my transcripts with the application as these cost me money. I am more than willing to give you official copies upon employment, but you do not need them before hand.

I have recently, within the last month, received referrals from colleagues to their universities, however I have not heard anything as of yet, however as the wheels of academia move at a glacial pace this is to be expected. I have been surprised that as of late I have actually received replies from universities. Normally I did not receive any reply, now I am receiving the "nothing available now but we will keep you on file." I guess you can look at that as some sort of progress in the sense that I now merit a response? :)

As one reader (I am happy that someone is reading my blog!) has commented I am working way to hard. I have to concur. I have even started applying to local universities to work in the dreaded administration. Part of me detests the idea of becoming "the man" however I am also aware that I need some stable income and the positions I am interviewing for will look shiny on my resume. I have one phone interview later this week, I am unsure what I think of this position as I don't have much respect for the establishment itself (it has a reputation in my town as both a glorified community college and a sinking ship), however with the right elements it could be an enjoyable job. Some of you are probably incredulous at this point thinking how could I even consider working for someplace I have little respect for? Be assured I am aware of the hypocrisy of this situation, however I am also aware that I have student loans to pay, a mortgage, a car payment, and right now need three jobs to make a living wage. Pairing this with the limited job openings in my particular area of the country I am more than willing to eat a big serving of hypocrisy soup for a couple of years if it will help me move onto greener pastures! I will keep everyone updated if I will be eating gourmet soup or in the soup kitchen this summer.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Attack of the "I don't like my grade"er

It is the end of the marking period and once again students who do not like their grades are coming at me en mass to complain about how I should have told them they didn't complete an assignment, or they think they should have a higher grade on this assignment, or why didn't they get credit for an assignment that was not turned in? *Sigh*

Granted I found a few clerical errors on my part, it is bound to happen when I have 60-80 students in an online classroom and no faces to put to the endless list of names. I understand it is frustrating to them, but their snotty "your a sucky professor because I don't think I am going to get my way" attitude makes me want to reach through the monitor and choke them. I want to start signing all my email communications:

Best Regards,
Your Professor
Remember, you catch more flies with honey than the shit you are dealing out right now!

One of the little snots actually told me that my communication through the class was "unacceptable". This is coming from the student who didn't turn in their final project nor did they ask me any questions or respond to most of my suggestions on their work throughout the entire quarter. I want to tell them "Sweetie, my communication style isn't what is holding you back, however I can tell you that your entitled attitude you serve out is going to be one hurdle that keeps tripping you up if you don't change it."

I don't know why it affects me every time, I know that the new generation feels no sense of responsibility towards their own destiny and that their emotionally stunted development means that it is what is being done to them instead of what they are doing, however whenever it comes and smacks me in the face it makes my blood pressure rise. Of course this means that I need to change how I view it, as I have the insight to know that I cannot change their behavior, only my reaction to it. However that is something that I shall have to tackle next term.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cracking the whip

I was watching the local news recently and one of the stories being discussed was the friction between full time faculty and adjunct faculty. The adjunct faculty thought they were underpaid for the work they did, while the full time faculty and administration's stance was that adjuncting was not meant to be "full time work". Well when many universities use mainly adjuncts to teach their students I beg to differ, but that was not what really got my goat.

In this segment they were discussing the pay for adjuncts which has not rose to meet the rate of inflation for years. They also discussed how the pay was a mere $3000 per class. That almost made me choke. $3000 per class? I get a fraction of that!

This is where I began to break it down, most three credit classes meet for one hour a day, three days a week. That is 3 hours of work. Most f2f prof's have one hour of office time. That is 4 hours per week. Let's assume that the other 4 hours is for grading and prep. That would be 8 hours.

I get paid less that $1500 for eight hours of work per week per class. I "go to class" five days a week, am available 24 hours by email to answer questions. In addition to the hours needed to grade the discussion assignments I also grade papers and quizzes. I am sure that I work more than 8 hours a week, so why I am I getting paid less than half of the face to face adjuncts when our work loads appear to even out?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Share My Pain

This is the first post of what I hope will be an entertaining blog about my trials and tribulations (and even some triumphs) in regards to my adventures in the world of adjuncting in online education.

A little about me, I am a lowly paid adjuncter currently working for one major university while I desperately troll with my net to pull more universities into my boat. In addition I have a private practice (with not as many clients as I would like) and a job in public education that doesn't quite pay the bills. When I put all of these jobs together I manage to scrape by while beating what I am sure is a stress wrinkles and an ulcer back under the surface of my consciousness. *lol*

I am not entirely sure what I will discuss, the usual gripes, snowflakes, lazy students, plagiarizers and liars. If you have something you would like to share I am open to hearing about it, after all as we all know misery loves company!