Friday, October 12, 2007

"Eleven." At Any Point In Any Day, Highway Helga Is Either Driving or Grading.

In our recent poll that asked how many classes people taught each semester, our highest option was "5+." That wasn't nearly high enough for some regular readers, and certainly not high enough for one of our favorites, "Highway Helga," who is currently teaching 11 classes this semester.

She reports to us, we assume, between classes - or instead of sleeping.


Last year I put 17,000 miles on my car. One of my colleges has several campuses--and pays the least. When gas went up so much this year, I said I would only teach at the campus nearest me--and that's a big help. While I go to the highest bidder, I also look at distances and close is a good thing, to paraphrase Martha Stewart.

The accelerated programs that colleges are starting all over the place are wonderful because of the pay, the time, the mix of students (young and old). For the same time period (a semester), one can teach two courses--almost double the money that "regular" college pays.

Okay--now here's one more thing--I love teaching. My evaluations are good, and my standards are high.

Here's my schedule:


MW 8
MW 10
MWF noon
TTh 8:15
TTh 10
TTh 11:30

Night and Weekend:

M 6-9
W 5:30-8:30
Sat 9-3 (every other week)

How on earth? Well, I work every hour God sends. I teach in a large metro area, and no one has ever told me I couldn't teach this many classes. I do a heavy load in the fall to make up for summer and spring when there are not so many courses offered for adjuncts. It feels good when it is spring, and I only have 8 courses. Rather like a batter warming up with half a dozen bats who then drops them to pick up one.


We know a good number of our regular readers are adjuncts, and we're wondering what their take is on this kind of schedule. What about your regular faculty folk, do you think Helga is giving each student the best experience possible? Could you teach 11 courses in the same way you teach your 2, 3, or 4 now? Is this dangerous to Helga? Dangerous to the quality of education? How much are adjuncts teaching at your college, and how much is too much? Share your ideas here.