I would say that before this, I had only experienced disillusionment once in my life. I had a teacher that I adored in middle school. Then she became my boss after high school and I lost all respect for her when I saw her in a different job position. It was sad to think that I had respected her at one point and had I not ended up working for her, I would have never known she wasn't that great of a person.
Well, another chapter in my life is ending, albeit a brief one, that has yet again left me disillusioned. When I went to community college right after high school, I loved it! I loved the atmosphere, the teachers knowing my name, being able to talk to them in the halls and hold stimulating conversations. It led me to realize that I didn't want to teach young kids anymore, I wanted to teacher older kids... then after I received my bachelor's, I decided to get my master's so that I, too, could be a community college teacher and have an experience like that of the ones I had as a student. So, when an opportunity came up for me to teach at the same CC that I went to, I was ecstatic. I uprooted my family and moved back to the community from whence I came.
Boy, was that a mistake!
I was hired as an adjunct and I quickly found out that being an adjunct puts you on the same level as being a window washer on a street corner. It pays pennies and no one respects you. Now, let me say, my boss/supervisor/guy I answered to, is awesome! I love his personality, dedication, yadda yadda. This guy has been given so many tasks that I don't know how his brain doesn't explode.
So this was my fourth semester teaching there. After being hired, I realized that the school sees adjuncts as warm bodies. Other than my boss, I don't think anyone knew my name. I could walk by any employee and they probably assumed I was a student. Adjuncts don't get acknowledged for anything in staff communications, HR congratulatory or with sympathy announcements... we are just worker ants to them. And the pay... wow. Of course it is more than minimum wage, but when you are not allowed to teach more than 8 credit hours (rule for adjuncts), and you can get scheduled to teach anytime during the day, it doesn't give you easy access to have outside jobs.
I drive 17 miles to work and 17 miles home from work to teach one 50 minute class four days a week. I could make more by substitute teaching a few times a month, but guess what, I can't- the class I teach is in the middle of the day. There is a community college about 90 miles away that pays almost double.
And although I love teaching, the lack of respect that I receive in my job is disheartening. I have had two semesters where I loved the students I had (I've taught more than one class a couple semesters). But last spring and this spring, I have had students that make me depressed at the idea of having to be around them every day. Fortunately those are the ones who skip class a lot. I have found that only a handful of students actually care about their education, which is also disheartening.
So, being as this will be my last semester teaching there (I have other things going on that make it seem like the right decision and my boss is retiring), I have decided to post about my disillusionment. A school that I had loved and was so enthusiastic about returning to to teach turned out to be an illusion. When you're on the other side of the table, you see the inner workings of the school and how unhappy so many people are. I'm just a rusty cog in their machine and I wish that I had not had to experience the other side of the operation. I know that every school is probably similar when it comes to adjuncts, but this was MY school. Just like the teacher I mentioned in the beginning, had I not returned to teach at MY school, I would have gone the rest of my life thinking that it was still one of the greatest places to be.