I have been teaching for what feels like my entire life. Preschool. Elementary art. Bible studies. Private tutoring. Seventh grade, for a minute. But the entire time my ultimate goal was to be a university professor. It seemed the illogical natural progression. And then in 2013 I finally got the opportunity to dip a toe into the life I always imagined. Days before I was going to take a job I really didn’t want I got the call-there was an emergency opening to teach three sections of freshman comp. Did I want it?
I jumped in with gusto. I found life on campus—even as an adjunct—exciting. As an instructor I like to have fun, and some of my favorite parts of the job happen outside the classroom: meeting up in the coffee shop or having students over to roast marshmallows on my gas stove (yes, that actually happend) and to pet my awesome dogs.
“ I still wanted the office, the campus, the students at my farmhouse table, ideas circulating and pasta spinning around forks. I wanted conferences, panels, and lectures. I wanted, perhaps unrealistically, a life I might have been planning for while I was cutting and pasting and camping and freelancing.”
- Cynthia Vacca Davis from Intersexion
As much as I have enjoyed teaching at my own alma mater, life as an adjunct is tough and fraught with uncertainty. You lose classes (and income) at the last minute. You often don’t have a place to “be.” But it wasn’t until the pandemic that I finally got an office—and once I did I ran with the fun factor. I began making Wednesday cookies in what my colleagues call an easy bake oven but is really just a tricked out, run of the mill toaster oven. I hung art. I got comfy. I started hosting Midweek Munchies —a couple hours of open house where students are invited to pull up a seat, pick a mug, grab a cookie and join in whatever conversation is in progress.
For the 2022-2023 academic year I am on a new adventure as a Visiting Assistant Professor. I’ll be pioneering the brand-spanking new journalism minor that we’re launching. I got a shiny new office on another wing with my name on the door. But never fear: the “easy bake” oven is coming with me, because there will always be cookies.