Fortune

When we think of fortune, we think of massive wealth, treasure hunts, gold mines, and fantastic hordes of gems and jewels. But this year, my idea of fortune is how I am feeling right now, today. Yesterday, I submitted final grades for my four classes of Speech Communication with 110 students. Also, I completed editing my roomie’s book on graceful aging.

Today, I feel accomplished, relieved, and euphoric that, during a pandemic, I am still earning a living by doing what I love. I enjoy teaching young people how to communicate impactfully. In my classes, people age 16 to 50 learn three things:

  • Critical thinking
  • Critical listening
  • Outlining and References in APA Style

Now, that looks like a shortlist for a college course. But ask my students if it is that simple. They will tell you it is not.

So, I’m feeling accomplished because I managed to pull 90% of my students through the switch to online learning, once the lockdown caused our school to close. Of 110 students, seven dropped the course before the lockdown. Nine failed the course because they gave up due to technical difficulties. Perhaps, they did not have a computer or laptop. They may not have WiFi or an internet connection. They could have children at home and not be able to concentrate on schoolwork. There are a plethora of reasons why 16 students did not get through my Speech Communication course.

On the bright side, of the 94 students who made it through, there were:

  • 44 As or 40%
  • 28 Bs or 25%
  • 14 Cs or 18%
  • 8 Ds or 7%
  • 10% of my 110 students this semester either dropped before or after the lockdown

I am off for 18 days. I will teach this course over the summer in three classes. Two are 12 weeks and one is six weeks. My challenge is to revert back to my lesson plans for shorter courses since the Fall and Spring terms were 16 weeks long. The fortune is that I taught this class in ONE month at three other schools. So, my real goal is to relax and enjoy my time off.

Happy Springtime!

Adjuncting

In July 2017, I graduated with my Doctorate in Business Administration/Marketing. I was so sure I would be teaching my discipline at a college or university. But here I am, nine months later, and I’m still only teaching Speech/Public Speaking. Even though I teach at three different schools, adjuncting is not secure income because most classes run four to six weeks every three to four months. So, there is a lull between classes, making me feel very uneasy.

From January through February 2018, I drove 300 miles per week to teach at two schools in Miami Lakes and Pembroke Pines. I earned good money but my body suffered tremendously. My right foot began to pain me around the sixth week of driving and, now, two months later, I can barely walk.

However, I am fortunate to be teaching online, finally. But online teaching pays $1,000 less than teaching in the classroom. Of course, I get to stay home and not pay for gas to run up and down I-95. I need at least two online classes per month to sustain myself, financially.

This article, Instead of Gaslighting Adjuncts, We Could Help Them, motivated me to write this blog post. I have submitted so many job applications to colleges and universities that I lost count! Now, I’m looking at editing positions because I am really good with APA Style since I teach it to my Speech Communication students.

My concern is that I suffer from ageism. I studied for my DBA from the age of 63 to 69. Now, at 70, I fear that no one is willing to hire me for a permanent teaching position. What to do?

I enjoy teaching. I like the variety of teaching at different schools which breaks the monotony of a full-time job in one school or company. But the stress of not knowing whether I’ll be teaching next month is mounting and my blood pressure is rising.

Nothing seems to be working – LinkedIn, Indeed, HigherEdJobs, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, EducationJobsite – none of these sites have produced even one interview.  And I’ve been submitting applications for well over a year. What is the answer?

After publishing 14 books, you would think I’d be in demand as a speaker. But the phone is not ringing and no email invitations are forthcoming. My hope is that I will get another online class or two to teach to keep me financially solvent.

I have faith in my abilities to teach. My students (well over 100) confirmed that I know my subject – Public Speaking – and they thanked me for helping them learn a lot about writing, outlining, and APA Style. Most college students are required to take Public Speaking during their general education experience. So, I am in demand since there are not a lot of Speech instructors from what I can gather. That is the upside!

Hence, I am writing this blog with the hopes that someone out there will read it and refer me to someone out there looking for a professor. This is my LinkedIn account. My cover letter, resume, and CV are available upon request to profjoancartwright@gmail.com.

I appreciate any help anyone in this universe can offer.

Sincerely,

Dr. Joan Cartwright