Reality Checkpoint Ahead

A former Fulbright scholar to Budapest, who is now a university instructor, sent this article around.
Opinion: Adjunct professors are the new working poor. Shortly thereafter,  she or someone else shared an article titled Death of an adjunct from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Both grabbed my attention since I taught as an adjunct in a California college for 15 years. Many times, I not only taught in the two full semesters, but in the summer semester as well when the full-time instructors chose not to do it. Often, I taught three classes a semester, the same load as a full-time instructor who had benefits. Apparently the article on the death of the one instructor has hit a national cord in academia.

These articles have been sitting on my desktop for some time now. I read them and then reread them and read them yet again. With each rereading the message doesn’t get any easier to accept. I wanted to share them, but first I needed to process why I was motivated for doing so and how much I wanted to reveal.

The dictionary defines adjunct as: “a thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part”
Though I haven’t had difficulty putting the pieces together, my feelings were further denigrated by an article in The Budapest Times titled Teacher pay rises not ideal but important first step. The article reads “Teachers with a university degree, combined with three years of work experience to date, will see their salaries rise from HUF 135,975 to HUF 203,330, whereas those with qualifications obtained from teacher colleges will receive an increase from HUF 126,270 to HUF 185,573.”

The numbers immediately struck me. Teachers with a university degree and three years are getting 135,975 Huf a month now? This is so very close to what I earn that I couldn’t afford an excellent dinner with the difference in our salaries. Yes, they have to be in the classroom five days a week, but I think any university instructor would argue we work just as diligently and reading and correcting papers is significantly more difficult. I have a doctorate degree, but as I am continually told, my position only requires a master’s degree. That still did not lessen the pain of the slap. It was another wake up call. It made me consider my future more seriously than I have in the past. More to come.

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