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Thread: Grad school!

  1. #41
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    I take it you haven't taught at the collegiate level before. If you think most of them are motivated or the parents aren't involved or all the other issues you identified aren't there, well, report back after a term.

    I've taught as an adjunct multiple times in multiple schools and won't do it again except when the anthropology department really, really needs a favor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    I take it you haven't taught at the collegiate level before. If you think most of them are motivated or the parents aren't involved or all the other issues you identified aren't there, well, report back after a term.

    I've taught as an adjunct multiple times in multiple schools and won't do it again except when the anthropology department really, really needs a favor.
    And I take it you haven't taught high school. Nice of you to laugh at people by the way.

    I did my homework on this. I looked at their hiring policies, course descriptions, and policies that are available online as well as checking in on their staffing needs.

    Most importantly, in terms of doing my homework, my best friend's father teaches full time at the community college level in the system that I hope to work in. I had a long sit down with him to discuss the prospects and differences. I did not say that there is no parental involvement. I said there is LESS. Big difference there. You said none. Not me. As a high school teacher, I was stalked at my home by a parent who is a police officer (here's a fact you might not know--when a police officer in a small town is stalking you--you have no recourse, you just get harassed and watched until he gives it up). My friend's father has never even been called at home by a parent let alone stalked (I had parents call me after midnight on more than one occasion). He has had phone calls in his office from parents. In some cases, the student is over 19 and has not agreed for teachers to talk to his or her parents and he is able to say, sorry, I can't talk to you about this. He has never had a parent tell him he is not allowed to have a personal life. He has never had a student tell him that. I had a parent come into my classroom the year I was engaged to tell me that I should not be allowed as a teacher to get married and she was taking her issue with it to the school board. I had not done anything inappropriate regarding my marriage to bring this on and my wedding was in the summer. She just felt that single teachers should stay single so they are more committed to the students. This kind of invasion of privacy has never happened to my friend's father or any of his colleagues that he is aware of.

    I said SOME of them are motivated, by the way, not most. You said most. I said some as opposed to none would be a new world for me. My friend's father said that many of his students are people in their mid to late 20s or older going back to school and they are, in general, more motivated than younger students. Some of his traditional age students are, however, kids who struggled and are trying to make up deficiencies so they can eventually get a bachelor's degree and they need extra help and sometimes give up. I am prepared for that and would have expected that because many high school kids I taught who struggled go to this school.

    The place where I am hoping to teach does not have a sports program. So I can teach a term and come back and still report to you that I have not experienced problems related to sports. I am sorry if that will disappoint you. Having no sports program pretty much guarantees that I will not be supervised by the football coach, now, doesn't it? And no sports means no games for anyone to insist teachers attend or run the scoreboard at or take the money at.

    If I am only teaching three classes for a term, well, it is highly unlikely that I will have to plan for five or six courses a day as I did as a high school teacher. Unless they routinely make people plan other teachers' lessons, but that would be a bit shocking, now wouldn't it?

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    No, I haven't taught high school thank the Lord, but I think you'll find many similarites at the community college or even university level. If you think they are vastly different, you'll be in for a rude surprise. Maybe different from your particular experience, but in general, not as much as you would think. I've taught where sports were king and they most definately impact what takes place in class, but there's always something. We don't have sports here, but there are retention rates that are an issue. Students who are passed so those retention rates don't fall below certain levels. That's typically a major issue at the community college level. But, apparently, you had a very bad experience teaching in high school so maybe everything will be different at the CCC level for you.
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    And I never said that I think they are vastly different. I have done enough research/homework on what the job situation is in my area to know that there are key differences that will make it a work environment that I will prefer over high school. That might not be true for everyone. And you may not prefer it over what you do. That is your preference.

    I love teaching and I want to teach. I taught high school for 16 years and still substitute teach occasionally. I know all of the reasons that I do not want to teach in that environment anymore. And I am not going into this change of career blindly at all. I am not that young nor am I that stupid.

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    PDilemma, IME the community college students in my area are very motivated and, as you said, tend to be older. So far so good. Unfortunately, they're mixed in with a bunch of kids who aren't qualified for college, but whose parents insist they go. Double whammy. There's only one CC that's very close to what you describe as ideal... it serves primarily minority and immigrant students. Average age of first year students is 25 and 80% of them work full time. Come on up, they're looking!
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    This is a really interesting thread. I live in Southern California (Orange County) and commuted (ages ago) to grad school at UCLA. I was in my late 20s when I applied for an interdepartmental program of history/language/political science. Although my grades weren't all that stellar as an undergrad, I got in because I could demonstrate years of self-motivated direction in the subject. These were spending my summers in intensive language programs--the kind where you get a year's credit for the one course, traveling extensively in the countries that I was interested in, etc.

    After a year and a half, I walked out. The politics, the arrogance of some professors, the hierarchy were just awful. The spouses of the other grad students were the only ones with a grip on reality. Years later, I went to UC Irvine for a teaching credential. That was even worse.

    I came to the conclusion that if I loved history, there were other things I could do outside mainstream academia. When I "dropped out" of UCLA, I began to write travel guidebooks with a heavy historical emphasis. I still do that today. I also private tutor in lots of subjects, but also history. I'm completely self-employed, and it's great. Granted, you don't have the benefits or perhaps as much money, but at least I didn't have my enthusiasm and creative spirit completely stomped out.

    The point is, if you love history, the world and the information is out there. If you find a professor or a class you're dying to take, you can take it through extension. Take language classes for fun. Think out of the box about how you can make money with your passions. You shouldn't have to put up with stress or a bunch of condescending professors and admissions people looking down their noses at you.

    For fun, check out this guy's blog: 100 reasons not to go to grad school http://100rsns.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by Oreo; 04-16-2011 at 06:42 PM. Reason: added link

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    It depends on what you want and where you've been. I've talked with a lot of people about the prospects as I made my decisions about what to pursue.
    I don't know if your research has taken you in the direction of professional organizations, but if not, you might want to check out:

    The New Faculty Majority: http://www.newfacultymajority.info/national/
    American Association of Community Colleges (AACC): http://www.aacc.nche.edu

    The first is an independent group for adjunct and contingent faculty and is a good source of news related specifically to adjuncts. The second is a good place to find news specifically related to community colleges.
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    I have to agree with rfisher here--in the end I think you'll likely just trade one set of headaches for another. I would also doubt adjuncting would turn into a permanent position. Typically adjuncts are tracked separately from regular faculty, abd it's very difficult to cross tracks.
    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    It depends on what you want and where you've been. I've talked with a lot of people about the prospects as I made my decisions about what to pursue.

    I'm not looking for a stellar career with tenure and all that business. I want to teach a little and make what I made before or a bit more. Teaching three classes a term where some of the students are motivated to be there (as opposed to none) in a system with lots of adult learners going back to school, where parents have less involvement, there are no sports, and your supervisor isn't sitting on his sorry ass in the office planning his football offense and not doing his job, where you have two or three courses to plan for as opposed to five or six, and no one is making you feel guilty for going home to have dinner with your spouse instead of staying around to watch a game of some sort.....quite frankly, that is a fantasy world for me.

    And not a lot of people are looking to stay at the community colleges here--instructors are passing through on their way to something else. If I want to stay, I have a greater chance of an actual full time position at some point.
    Last edited by agalisgv; 04-16-2011 at 09:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kia_4EverOnIce View Post
    sorry for the OT, but having just been accepted for a PhD in the Humanities (in the U.K.), it's quite depressing reading that... just for curiosity, one of my lecturers told me nowadays for Humanities research Canada is the country with more opportunities: what do you think?
    Just keep in mind that the entire system in the UK is VERY different. I've spent 3 years in the British system and very little of what I've read in this thread applies

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by kia_4EverOnIce View Post
    sorry for the OT, but having just been accepted for a PhD in the Humanities (in the U.K.), it's quite depressing reading that... just for curiosity, one of my lecturers told me nowadays for Humanities research Canada is the country with more opportunities: what do you think?
    I think: no.

    It could be different in specific fields within the humanities, but from my own observation I don't see Canadian career opportunities in the humanities in general being noticeably better than anywhere else.
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