Thursday, February 9, 2012

With Regard to My Insomnia

I have a nice long teaching-reflectiony post percolating on my laptop, all about how rewarding it is to be teaching a literature course in my specialization this term, my successful Orientalism lecture, my thoughtful students dialoguing thought-provoking things on the online discussion board. But then some colleagues drew my attention to recent articles and blog posts on the topic of adjunct, contingent faculty. Michael Bérubé's "Among the Majority." Copy & Paste's Crowdsourcing Google doc. An infographic from Online PhD that makes things all too clear.

My kid wakes me up in the middle of the night to nurse. Yes, I'm still doing that. But after she nods back off to sleep, I'm usually awake for 2-4 hours considering the facts. I finished my PhD in 2007, and I've done MLA five years in a row now. 12 (or is it 16?) interviews, 3 campus visits, no tenure-track job. My scholarship has gotten to be an increasingly expensive hobby: I still attend conferences 2-3 times a year, each of which might cost me $500 to $1,000 in travel, hotel, registration, and meals. I spend uncompensated time writing articles, book reviews, and working on my book project when I could be working a paid job. (My family has been scratching their heads about this for years.) This is all fine--I love my research like I love my daughter. But now teaching, too, is beginning to seem like a very expensive hobby. Next term, I've got one contract for one 3-credit course for which I'll make about $2100 over three months. That might cover my half of daycare, but it certainly doesn't cover rent and other bills.

That's all. I just wanted a place to dump this information for the next late night session of not-sleeping.