Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Getting by on the gummint cheese.

I teach at the community college level, which means I cash a gummint paycheck. My friend Jodi teaches at a public high school, so she is likewise another bureaucrat living the life of Riley on your hard-earned tax dollars, especially if you are a Californian.

Jodi has seniority and tenure. Me, not so much. She has plenty of work, but due to layoffs, her class sizes have effectively doubled and the school has cut back on the hours she gets for prep time.

More work to do and less time to do it in. Nothing a good motivational seminar can't cure!

At the community college level, having tenure means no worries about having enough classes when there are cutbacks. Tenured faculty can get 15 hours without any problem. It's the suckers like me, the adjunct faculty who are left to fight for the scraps off the tables who are well and truly screwed. As you might guess, budget cutbacks means less classes, so less scraps. The state legislature made a change in the law that makes it possible to get 10 class hours a week from a single school, but right now, things are so tight at Laney that the average for math teachers is around 5.5 hours. Of all the departments, math and English are the ones that have the most courses required by other fields, so you can imagine what a struggle it is in disciplines less in demand.

Right now, I have about 11 hours of work a week from Mills and Laney combined until the end of the year, but Mills only needs me to teach a class in the Fall semester each year. At what I'm making right now, I can can by if there is no major emergency, and with health insurance the probability of a major emergency is reduced. But come January, the income will be reduced significantly, and I have to decide if I can afford health insurance.

It's a wonderful life.

Don't get me wrong. I like the work. But if I were listing the pros and cons of being a janitor, one of the big advantages of custodial work is you don't get people telling you what a fine, honorable and noble profession you have while paying you chump change. The pay is bad and you have to deal with it, not the insult of people telling you how much you should be getting for your valuable work while handing you a paycheck that is somewhere between a joke an a tragedy.

Just sayin'.


Fran said...

Oh - I do not even know what to say. Our society is designed for people to lose and it really pisses me off.

Oh Matty.

namastenancy said...

That sucks big time! I was wondering about your situation; it breaks my heart to see so many good teachers and our whole school system being decimated by foolish budget decisions. My sister is a special needs teacher in Minnesota (elementary school) and they've doubled her class size which makes it a complete nightmare. She's got kids who are ATD, bi-polar, borderline personality disorder and with Tourette's syndrome, all lumped into one room where she's got to try to deal with them, teach them something and handle their numerous health crisis. Right now, she's hanging on until she reaches the magical 25 years and then, she's planning to retire. It's an inhuman work load, not fair to her or the kids.
It's either too much work or too little but the demands on the teachers are equally inhuman - work hard for not enough money or not enough work and not enough money. Our country is investing in all the wrong things - military instead of health, education and welfare.

¡Karlacita! said...

Matthew, watching you and my other Freeway Faculty friends actually made me choose against a career in teaching!

It's too unstable! How rotten is that?