That was fifty years ago. Today, I am a realist, and the reality is scary.
While in graduate school studying History and Political Science, I taught myself accounting, figuring it would come in handy doing taxes for me and my family and friends. I never thought that I would make a living and raise a family as a controller rather than a professor. For thirty-five years I worked in private industry, while teaching one or two courses at night in a local college. When my sons were grown and married, my wife and I decided that it was now time for me to follow my real goal and go into college teaching full time. Ha!
What a lunatic idea to think I could make a living in that manner! It was now the late 1980’s and a new breed of college instructors had inundated academia -- ADJUNCTS. The thought of full time faculty was outrageous according to the community and four year schools. They had discovered a gold-mine in adjuncts: could hire an adjunct for one-fourth of the pay of a full timer and not give any benefits or ‘waste’ and office space.
My life changed in 1988 and I soon became a full time adjunct. No, that is not an oxymoron. I began to make a living grabbing whatever classes I could at whatever colleges had openings. For 27 years I have been a ‘roads scholar’ traveling throughout central and northern New Jersey doing what I do best and love to do- teach. I have had much satisfaction in the success of many students and I have won awards and acclaim for my work. The problem is that I am working much harder now than I did thirty years ago, and taking inflation and the cost of living into account making less money. Does that bother me? Of course, but I am hopefully making a difference in my student’s lives. Is it fair to me and my fellow adjuncts? Of course not, and I have been attempting to change things.